Herbivores, Carnivores & Omnivores
For this day we studied the differences between herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore dinosaurs. We also did a few math and writing activities today.
What are somedifferences in the characteristics of the meat-eating dinosaurs and the plant-eating dinosaurs. Show pictures of different types of teeth. If a dinosaur was an herbivore, ate plants only, what kind of teeth did it have? Did it have claws? Did it have a large mouth or a small mouth? What if the dinosaur was a carnivore and ate meat only? What kind of teeth would it have? Would it have claws? We can determine the diet of a dinosaur by the shape of its teeth.
Plant-eaters (herbivores) (Ankylosaurus)usually have blunt teeth that are good for stripping leaves and other plants. Some also have flat teeth for grinding tough plant fibers. Many herbivores have cheek pouches in which they can store food for a while. Herbivores usually have to eat a much larger volume of material than carnivores do in order to get the same amount of calories (this is because leaves, twigs, and roots are low in calories). Herbivores usually have larger digestive systems that are needed to digest large amounts of tough plant fibers. Some dinosaurs swallowed rocks (called gastroliths), to help grind up the fibers in their stomachs.
- What is a meat-eating dinosaur called? carnivore
- What is a plant-eating dinosaur called? herbivore
- What is a dinosaur called when it eats both meat and plants? omnivore
Herbivore or Carnivore
- Using the Camel Illustrations on the worksheet below, show the children just the picture of the skull.
Herbivore or CarnivoreWhat do you know about this animal?________________________________________________________What can you figure out just from this skull?________________________________________________________Was it a meat-eater or a plant-eater?________________________________________________________What would it have used its teeth for?________________________________________________________What would it have looked like?________________________________________________________Did it have hair, scales or skin?________________________________________________________What color might it have been and why?________________________________________________________
- Give the children a copy of the worksheet and talk about the following questions together. Ask the children what they “know” about this animal, what they can figure out from just the skull. Was it a meat-eater or a plant-eater? What would it have used its teeth for? What would it have looked like? Did it have hair, scales or skin? What color might it have been and why?
- Have the children write down their answers underneath the skull and draw a picture on the back of their paper of what they think it looked like while it was alive. After they have finished writing their answers in their best handwriting show them the camel’s face.
- This is what it really have looked like. Compare this picture to what the children guessed and talk about the differences.
- Show the picture of the whole camel. Explain that even though camels have sharp teeth they don’t eat meat. Just because a creature has sharp teeth, it doesn’t “prove” they were meat-eaters. In order to know for sure, we must actually be able to observe the animal. Since scientists can not observe living dinosaurs, they have to make their best guesses about them, just like you just did with the camel skull. Guesses are not facts, even a very intelligent guess is still not a fact.
- Ask the children to verbally explain to you the difference between a guess and a fact. Ask the children if they can think of any other animals that have sharp teeth but are not meat-eaters. Two other good examples would be the panda bear and the fruit bat.
I printed off the Dino Diet worksheet for J to make up a dino and write about it.
What Did Dinosaurs Eat
Dinosaur Cards (most Herbivores)
- Child may sort the food into meat, vegetables (or leaves) and fruit.
- The teacher motivates counting by asking: Which of these sets has more? Which has less? How do you know?
- Match the Carnivore dinosaur cards to the meat pile and the Herbivore dinosaur cards to the vegi pile. Are there more herbivore dinosaurs or carnivore dinosaurs.
Each child is given a snack and as the students munch on “meat” and on “plants” discuss how scientists have found fossilized teeth that tell us what these different animals ate.
Which teeth are for tearing off pieces of meat? (The canines, which have sharp points on them. These are for tearing. What are the back teeth for? (For grinding and smashing into smaller pieces so that we can swallow our food.) These teeth are also calle d molars. In Spanish, the word molar means“to grind,” which is what these teeth do to the food before we swallow.
Which teeth are we using to eat our “plants”? (We bite first, and then we chew; but we don’t have to tear the fruit or vegetables.) Humans have both kinds of teeth because humans eat meat, and humans eat plants also. That makes us Omnivores. What do we think if a dinosaur skull is found and all its teeth, but a few front ones, are flat? (That they were plant eaters.) What do we think if a dinosaur skull is found and all its teeth, but a few front ones, have sharp points? (That they were meat eaters.) What do crocodiles eat? (Fish and large mammals.) What do lizards eat? What do turtles eat? (Many turtles are toothless; they eat mostly insects, slugs or other small animals; they can eat plants but only the soft parts, because they do not have teeth that can grind the food.) Crocodiles, lizards and turtles are reptiles like dinosaurs, so they probably ate similar things. What observations did we make that helped us guess what the dinosaurs ate? What observations do we use to say whether a dinosaur is a meat eater or a plant eater? Remember, observations help us to make good guesses like scientists. These observations helps us sort the dinosaurs in many different ways.
- Measure each dinosaur and record the results on a note card.
- Which is the biggest and which is the smallest? Which is the tallest and which is the shortest?
J and played Dinosaur Dominoes for fun.
J colored the Dino Soduku page and then cut out the dinos on the bottom of the page. Then he could add the correct dinos to the soduku board.
- Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaur by Sandra Boynton
Write a Dinosaur Acrostic Poem with page 3 of this download. Begin each line with a word that starts with the letter on that line.
J wanted to write the name of a dinosaur for each line on the acrostic rather than an adjective.
Dinosaur Unit Study