I ABSOLUTELY love it when a teacher's inquiry leads to one of my all time favorite aspects of librarianship: creating engaging research projects for kids!! So, when a fifth-grade teacher stopped in the library for her morning cup of coffee, and asked me if I had any ideas for a dinosaur research project for her reading group, I was thrilled. REALLY. It was the near the end of the year; tests were over; kids were tired. It was the perfect time to create a bit of research magic. Could I pull anything together for this group of boys, struggling to read and with less enthusiasm for research than getting their teeth pulled out one by one? You betcha!! I had an idea, and I knew that those boys were going to love it.

From the moment that I had cracked open the book series, Dinosaur Wars, by Michael O'Hearn, I knew that THIS concept, a battle of beasts, would be the perfect foundation for a research project. This book series by Capstone is a favorite among my dinosaur lovers. Each book gives you factual information about two different dinosaurs, focusing on their strengths and weaknesses, and then pits the two dinosaurs in a battle. The book culminates with a narrative of this showdown.

What kid, well what tween, does NOT love the gnashing of teeth, the gory flow of prehistoric blood, and the demise of at least one of the ferocious beasts!! Thus, our dinosaur research project, Battle of the Beasts was born.

WE HAD A BLAST! Students researched an assigned/chosen dinosaur, and then partnered with a peer who had researched a different dinosaur. Students used the knowledge that they acquired and their research notes to put their dinosaurs together in an imaginary head to head combat.

After students research the strengths and weaknesses of their dinosaurs, Library Patch students meet head to head, to conduct a theoretical Battle of the Beasts. Which dinosaur will outlast the other?
After students put their dinosaurs to the test, they took their notes and their ideas and created a written narrative of the battle that would have taken place if these two dinosaurs were to meet. They typed their narratives into a Google Document using their Chromebooks.
Ultimately, students created a research poster outlining pertinent facts about their dinosaur and a narrative describing the battles that their dinosaur confronted.

How about a little testament to the kids' genuine enthusiasm for this project? Their teacher said that students were visiting her during their free time ASKING if they could work on their battles. Now, that warms this librarian's heart.

Ready to do battle yourself? Well, you are in luck. Click HERE or on the pix below to take you to a FREE project outline. The project outline includes links to a couple of great videos that you can use to get your kids hooked, a hyper-linked list of dinosaur research websites, a step by step guide on how I conducted this project, and a free graphic organizer.
 Click for a FREE download
It's everything that you would need to prepare for a battle of epic proportions!!

Happy Researching!


Heather Donaldson Herwig said...

This is a great idea!
I'm moving to the library after almost 20 years of teaching English. Looking for all the ideas I can get!

Jam Arbaz said...
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Sonya said...

Hi Heather - Welcome to the library world!! Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the SUPER librarian blogs over to the right hand side. They are the true gurus and I have learned some much from them!

Arbaz Jam said...

It is really helpful for me. Thank you for sharing it. I am very thankful for your hard and innovative work. Dear Keep it Up.

jam mursleen said...

Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your hard work. Your site is really helpful for me.

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My name is Sonya Dykeman, and I am an elementary school librarian in upstate New York. I taught third and fourth grade for 12 years, and then I went back to school, so that I could get my dream job. I have been in the library for 7 years, and I can honestly say that I LOVE it! Feel free to message me at sjdykeman@gmail.com.

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