Lunch with a Dinosaur Hunter
Students will learn about past and present scientists and their discoveries in the field of dinosaur paleontology
R.6.A.2.5 - Summarize nonfictional text as a whole
R.7.A.2.5 - Summarize nonfictional text as a whole
R.8.A.2.5 - Summarize nonfictional text as a whole
Preparation Time Needed
Prep time could be ~45 minutes. Time will be needed to review the attached document and construct lists of paleontologists.
This is a take-home assignment for students. I teach an introductory-level course on dinosaurs at the college level. One of my goals in all of my courses is for students to be familiar with the scientists that are the founders of the discipline, and to know who the current researchers are in the field.
The assignment details to students that they have "won a prize" to attend lunch with three dinosaur researchers. They have a list to choose which three paleontologists they would like to have lunch with. Students choose one paleontologist from the first category (the "founding fathers" of dinosaur science), one paleontologist from the second category (more recent but deceased dinosaur scientists), and one paleontologist from the third category (living dinosaur hunters). Students are required to prepare for the lunch by creating a biography on each scientist, according to guiding questions on the assignment sheet, and students must brainstorm questions to ask the dinosaur hunters.
This assignment involves researching information from external sources (internet and books (if available)), synthesizing information, developing questions with justification, and writing. I also emphasize the importance of citing sources and require my students to include in-text citations and a reference list in APA style.
Note that this assignment can be adjusted for any sub-discipline within the Earth and space sciences - lunch with oceanographers, astronomers/astronauts, etc. The assignment can also be scaled back so that each student in your class is asked to select one professional, complete the biographical research, and think of questions to ask. Then, the students can share their research on the selected professional during class.