If you have ever wished you could have a retired paleontologist come to your classroom or home and give your kids hands-on science lessons, then Dinosaur Discovery: Everything You Need to Be a Paleontologist by Chris McGowan and illustrated by Erica Lyn Schmidt is the book for you.
Interspersed with two-page spreads of amazing watercolor illustrations of dinosaurs by Erica Lyn Schmidt (see her website for numerous examples) and detailed information about specific dinosaurs, are instructions for hands-on activities with bright full-color photographs. It really gives a feel of going back in time and then coming to the present to learn more. (Although it would have been nice to include photographs of a girl performing the experiments as well as a boy).
Chris McGowan’s hands-on activities pack a powerful science punch. He incorporates numerous science principals into experiments and demonstrations that are deceptively simple and involve materials you can find around the house. These are real concepts that a paleontologist would need to comprehend and shows how well-rounded they must be, understanding not only dinosaurs but also such diverse fields as physics, anatomy and geology.
Pinning down an age range for this book is difficult. Most likely it targets middle grade, but many children get intensely interested in dinosaurs at an earlier age. I would say younger children would eat this up with quite a bit of help from an adult. It would also tie in wonderfully with a trip to a natural history museum that features dinosaur exhibits.
Teachers, homeschoolers and librarians will definitely find Dinosaur Discovery: Everything You Need to Be a Paleontologist a useful resource for experiments to supplement a variety of science lessons, such as earth science or anatomy lessons. Be sure to pick up this book and invite a paleontologist over soon.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (June 28, 2011)
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