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What's in a Dinosaur Name?

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    Children's Museum of Indianapolis

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What's in a Dinosaur Name?

In this activity, learners explore the etymology of dinosaur names. Learners first discuss how dinosaurs are often named after a body part or behavior, where they were found, or a person (finder or famous). Learners also discuss Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes that are commonly found in dinosaur names. Then, learners create a paper puzzle that generates new dinosaur names. This activity is featured on pp.20-27 (part of a lesson that begins on p.19) of the "Dinosphere" unit of study for grades 3-5.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
      • Fossils
      • Dinosaurs
      • History of Life
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
      • Classification

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • 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


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