Classroom Dinosaur Dig

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In this activity, learners participate in a simulated dig to discover fossilized dinosaur bones. Learners take notes, make a map and propose theories about dinosaurs. This can be used as a culminating activity at the end of a unit on dinosaurs, paleontology or archeology. This activity is featured on pp.48-50 (part of a lesson that begins on p.47) of the "Dinosphere" unit of study for grades 3-5.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plastic skeleton model from The Tiny Perfect Dinosaur--Book, Bones, Egg & Poster Series: #1 Leptoceratops, #2 Tyrannosaurus Rex, #5 Triceratops, #7 Hypacrosaurus (more than one kit will be needed for large groups)
  • Aluminum baking pans, 8 inches square and 3 inches deep
  • Sandy soil
  • Plastic spoons
  • Toothpicks
  • Clay
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Centimeter rulers
  • Dino Diaries (pp. 111-114)
  • Story of Bucky Derfinger (page 61)
  • The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs by Joanna Cole


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
      • Fossils
      • Dinosaurs
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 2004