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The 4+ Times April 21



    With the cut-outs of the life-sized jaw of a tyrannosaurus rex and the bony domed head of a pachycephalosaurus on the wall outside our classroom, it was immediately evident that this was dinosaur week in 4+. We’ve had dinosaur puzzles, model dinos at the block corner, a little prehistoric music, dinosaur  stencils at the writing center,  paleontologists’ dig site,  dinosaurs embedded in gak in the big red tub, and many dinosaur books


       When we look at pictures of dinosaurs, we try to decide if they had the sharp tearing teeth and long claws of a meat eater or if they had grinding teeth and four lumbering legs of a plant eater. To help the students understand how herbivores used small rocks in their craw to assist their digestion, we put a handful of stones in a jar to simulate the rocks a plant eating dinosaur would naturally ingest. We added some vegetation (lettuce) to the jar and moved it around as if it were a gizzard inside a walking stegosaurus and observed how the rocks began to pulverize the lettuce into a more digestible form.


      To foster the children’s understanding of paleontology, the students had the chance to dig in a dinosaur bone discovery center all week. In another science project, the kids all made their own “fossils” by pressing dinosaur figures into a coffee-salt dough which hardens to preserve the imprint.


     When you create dinosaurs from paper, tape, and balloons as the children did yesterday, you pretty much guarantee the creatures will be extinct in no time. Hmmm...Perhaps the subtext of the lesson was the impermanence of all earthly things.  


     Part of our dinosaur study includes learning about how the earth was different during the Mesozoic era. We emphasized how dinosaur days had a more volcanic landscape and completely lacked large mammals—including humans. It’s always fun to make “hot lava” spew out of a model volcano, and today the kids will enjoy watching fast rising yeast stand in for geological forces in our own volcanos.


     Our families are sharing their enthusiasm about dinosaurs by providing us with some very special snacks. Brendan Haggerty’s family is giving each child a whole bag of gummi dinosaurs for Friday candy day, and Luke Kelly and his mother made cookies for our snack today that have dinosaur skeleton imprints. Thank you very much for these treats!


      In stark contrast to our dinosaur studies, we set up a hair salon in our kitchen corner and the kids have been loving it! They have taken turns spraying product into each other’s hair and using the tools of the trade to create the latest and greatest ‘dos. Many parents and grandparents have endured enjoyed the personal attention of our hair stylists as well. Thank you for coming in; the children had a wonderful time working on your hair.


Upcoming dates:    


• Next week’s show and tell:  something about music  


• Fri., May 12:  4+ Mothers’ Brunch   

10:00-11:00    We will host an elegant brunch for our mothers in our classroom.


• Thurs., May 25:  Last day of school (4+ does not have any special ceremony or celebration that day.)  Co-op picnic at Green Lake after class



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