Monday, October 25, 2010

# Dinosaur Dentistry (and Math)

Sometimes Anna asks us questions that we don’t know how to answer or need time to prepare the answer. So last week I introduced “A Question Box”. It’s nothing fancy – I cut the hole in the small box that was floating around and told Anna that we will be putting this kind of questions into the box, so we can investigate them “when we have time”. The very first question that went to the box was How big were T-Rex teeth?

We have visited Museum of Natural History in New York in the summer, but interestingly Anna had very vague memory of it. So we read My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki (we own this book), and looked at the pictures from New York. Anna was very fascinated to see the pictures of herself touching dinosaur teeth and posing next to the skeletons of dinosaurs. That visit came back to her at least to some degree. Then we did online research by typing her question into Google and it came back with the answer – T-Rex teeth were up to 8 inches including root (some other sources say 9 inches). Anna measured 8 inches on paper and I helped her draw a line across. Then she drew teeth of that size and drew her own tooth for comparison. We then talked briefly about what “drawing true to  size” means in comparison to drawing to scale, because she keeps pointing out that continents cannot possibly as small as they appear on her globe. She cut her tooth and stuck it into her mouth to see if it was true to scale (it ended up to be too big). I also had an idea to see how many of her teeth fit into one T-Rex tooth, but at that point she was already off to another idea – starting a science journal. She took one of her notebooks and wrote a note in it T-Rex teeth 8 inches long (I provided her with spelling). She didn’t want to draw a picture – she said that her science journal will only have notes. I am excited that suddenly she is more interested in keeping a journal – all our previous attempts led nowhere.

I am linking this post to Science Sunday hosted by Adventures in Mommydom and Math Links hosted by Joyful Learner.

Phyllis said...

She is so inquisitive! It is so wonderful, although I can see how constant questions could be hard. It seems you have come up with the perfect solution.

littlewondersdays said...

The idea box is a great, well, idea! I may have to make one for us.
Great lesson too. I like how she was able to see how much of a difference there was between the t-rex and her teeth.

MaryAnne said...

What a little scientist! I always find her lack of patience with art entertaining, my kids are the opposite - all about drawing and very little patience with academics. Which come to think of it would describe me as a child - no wonder! At least I know I made my way through school just fine =)

Ticia said...

math and science dovetail together so wonderfully.

I love the idea of a question box, that is so needed at our house.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm really not sure what parents did before Google - I guess that's why encyclopedia salesmen managed to make a living :)

Debbie said...

I love your idea of a question box. I agree with Leah, and often wonder what did I do when I didn't have google, well yes grabbed the encyclopedia.

Christy said...

I love the idea of a question box. I often forget about questions the kids ask if we can't look them up right away. I will be making this box today!!!!!!! Awesome!!!

I am so grateful for google!!

I hope the science journal sticks around - so cool.

Brimful Curiosities said...

I think it would be fun to think of questions to add to the box during suppertime or on car rides. (just in case you run out of spontaneous questions to answer).

Kim said...

I love your question box! We are forever saying that we'll looks something up, and then we forget... As for not remembering the trip to NY, Crumpet remembers amazing details that I can't believe he knows, and then forgets entire trips to Disneyworld. It's interesting what stays in their minds.

Infant Bibliophile said...

The question box is a fun idea. My son just says, "I will look it up on Mama's telephone!" and grabs for my iphone, which is never more than 2 feet away from me. ;)

Joyful Learner said...

I may need to borrow your question box idea too! JC asks a million questions and I can't seem to hold them all in my head. The last question she asked was, "Why does the earth spin?" which I've been meaning to get to. So, a box would solve all our problems! Thanks for sharing and linking!

MommyWise said...

Cool idea and so simple!