The Ichthyosaurus was a marine reptile that roamed the prehistoric seas. These massive creatures ranged from seven to thirty feet, and used their massive dorsal fin and powerful flippers to navigate. To introduce the concept of friction and its relationship to speed in the water, we swam with our very own flippers! We initiated this activity by placing our hands into some water to make waves. We then placed Ziploc bags onto our hands, and did the same thing. We followed this with a discussion of the differences between the two. Our conversation consisted of questions such as “What made bigger waves, when we had bags on our hands or when we didn’t?” and “Why do you think the bags made bigger waves?”. This activity facilitated several developmental areas, including deduction, cause and effect, and cooperative learning.
Tar pits are pools of accumulated bitumen (asphalt) that are significant to paleontologists because they so effectively preserve fossils. Young children thrive on the application of new information, integrating the tactile with the sensory to make connections they can understand.
With this in mind, we constructed our very own tar pits! We accomplished this by combining rocks, black clay, water, and our favorite prehistoric animals. This activity was a collective effort as we both created and excavated our creatures from this sticky lake. Each child collaborated with their fellow paleontologists to share their vision regarding the appearance of the tar pit, and, once actualized, the most effective means to remove and observe the remains of their findings.
By working together, your little one is honing their social skills and the means with which they relate to their peers. By progressing toward a common goal, they are sharing ideas, values, and resources, which enable them to build a sense of community and pride in their work.