Dinosaurs - Stages 1-3 - Student Activities

Suggestions for adults accompanying primary school dinosaur fans exploring the Dinosaurs exhibition at the Australian Museum.

Self-guided activity for primary school students

This tour offers a way of navigating your way through the exhibition and can be completed in any order you wish. There are eleven suggested stops with a fascinating fact to read to your group and questions to ask. Remember this is a guide, not a set of rules, and we encourage you to follow the interests of the children and accept all of their responses. No written response is required.

The Threshold

1. Jobaria
  • Jobaria's thigh bone has to hold up a very heavy dinosaur. It weighs as much as 10 adults.

? 'How many of you would be needed to circle Jobaria?'

? Scientists have found fossil ribs of a baby Jobaria with tooth marks of an Afrovenator. What does this tell us about these dinosaurs?'

SECTION 1: Dinosaur World

2. Eoraptor
  • The Eoraptor, one of the earliest dinosaurs, had serrated teeth and grasping hands with five 'fingers'. Later, dinosaurs had only two.

'? What makes the Eoraptor built for speed?'

3. A Changing World; Sharing the World

? 'Smell the air. What did the Cretaceous and Triassic time periods smell like?'

? 'Would you like to have lived at that time? Why? Why not?'

? 'Are there any prehistoric creatures that still live with us now?'

4. Life on the Edge - Lightning Ridge
  • Scientists are not sure how opalised fossils are formed.

? 'What would you like to ask "Eric"'

? 'What would your life have been like if you were a dinosaur at Lightning Ridge 110 million years ago?'

5. Muttaburrasaurus
  • Scientists believe that the bump on the snout of the Muttaburrasaurus may have given it the ability to make a unique sound...

? 'Which animal do you think it sounded like? Can you make that sound? When do you think it would make that sound?'

SECTION 2: Dinosaur Life

6. Predator and Prey - The Winton Trackway
  • About160 dinosaurs made their mark on the Trackway, but there are only four different types.

? 'What can fossil footprints tell you about dinosaurs?'

7. Life Cycles
  • Scientists use eggs to classify animals. Dinosaur eggs are rarely found but they can also help scientists find out more about the dinosaur. Sometimes, although it's rare, an embryo is found inside an egg.

? 'What could a fossilised nest of dinosaur eggs tell you about the way the dinosaur lived?'

? 'Imagine you were one of the baby dinosaurs in the nest. What might you be able to see?'

8. Giganotosaurus
  • Giganotosaurus was the largest meat eater of all - even larger than T -Rex.

? 'How can you tell the Giganotosaurus is a meat eater?'

? 'There were small meat eaters too. Can you find one?'

SECTION 3: Discovering Dinosaurs

9. What are Fossils?
  • Most of the early Australian fossil discoveries were found by chance. There are a lot more to discover!

? 'Can you find a fossil that is NOT from a skeleton?'

? 'What would you like to ask a palaeontologist?' (Palaeontologists are scientists who study prehistoric life - plants, insects, mammals, fungi, microbes as well as dinosaurs.)

SECTION 4: Surviving Dinosaurs

10. Living Dinosaurs
  • Can you believe birds are dinosaurs?

? 'In what ways are theropods and birds similar?'

11. Extinction
  • Iridium is not a mineral commonly found on earth, but it is found in meteors. When it was found in a column of excavated rock it was an exciting part of the evidence to support the theory of extinction due to meteorite impact.

? 'What does the rock sample from New Zealand tell you about the time of the meteorite collision?'

  • The crocodiles, turtles, lizards, snakes, birds, amphibians and mammals were able to survive the extinction event when the dinosaurs died out.

? 'If YOU had lived in the time of the dinosaurs would you have been able to survive? Why? Why not?'


Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
Last Updated:

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