Dinosaur Lesson Plan

Please note, this lesson plan was created by as a general guide and is not specific to any particular venue listed on our site.

The first dinosaurs appeared around 231 million years ago (mya) in a time known as the Mesozoic Era. Scientists divide this era into 3 periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Research and draw a timeline to show what dinosaurs lived during that period.

Visit your school or neighborhood library to explore children’s literature to see what main characters are dinosaurs. What is their nature and what dinosaurs do they resemble?


– The word dinosaur comes from the Greek language and means ‘terrible lizard’. The word was coined by English paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842 and was meant to refer to Dinosaurs impressive size rather than their scary appearance.

– Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for over 160 million years, from the Triassic period around 230 million years ago through the Jurassic period and until the end of the Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago.

– The time period from 250 million years ago until around 65 million years ago is known as the Mesozoic Era. It is often referred to as the Age of the Dinosaurs because most dinosaurs developed and became extinct during this time.

– It is believed that dinosaurs lived on Earth until around 65 million years ago when a mass extinction occurred.

– Scientists believe that the event leading to the extinction may have been a massive asteroid impact or huge volcanic activity. Events such as these could have blocked out sunlight and significantly changed the Earth’s ecology.



Notice the various exhibit of dinosaurs at the museum and take notes on how their structures are similar or different from each other.

Also note the vegetation surrounding the dinosaurs in the exhibits and pictures.


Albertosaurus: meaning “Alberta lizard”) is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaurs that lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago.

Allosaurus: Any of various carnivorous dinosaurs of the genus Allosaurus of the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous Periods.

Brachiosaurus: a huge herbivorous dinosaur of the late Jurassic to mid Cretaceous periods, with forelegs much longer than the hind legs.

Carnivorous: subsisting or feeding on animal tissues; animals that eat meat.

Ceratosaurus: a genus of American Jurassic carnivorous dinosaurs nearly 20 feet long that had a bony horn core on the united nasal bones.

Diplodocus: a huge herbivorous dinosaur of the genus Diplodocus, from the Late Jurassic Epoch of western North America, growing to a length of about 87 feet (26.5 meters).

Excavate: remove earth carefully and systematically from (an area) in order to find buried remains.

Extinct: vanished, lost, died out, no longer existing, no longer extant, wiped out, destroyed, gone “an extinct species”

Extinction: the act of making extinct or causing to be extinguished; the condition or fact of being extinct or extinguished; also: the process of becoming extinct; extinction of a species.

Fossil: the remains or impression of a prehistoric organism preserved in petrified form or as a mold or cast in rock.

Herbivorous: eating a diet consisting only of plants; animals that eat plants.

Omnivorous: An organism that eats both plants and animals.

Predator: An animal that lives by killing and eating other animals : an animal that preys on other animals.

Prehistoric: of or relating to the time or a period prior to recorded history



– Listening skills

– Verbal communication

– Vocabulary development

– Data interpretation

– Information analysis

– Critical thinking/problem solving

– Writing


– Make a chart on the difference among the various Dinosaurs and Reptiles.

– Explore the vegetation during the Triassic Period and how if differs to day.

– Have your students write about what sort of dinosaur they might be and why.