Third-grade class studies dinosaurs

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By Don Pace

Students in Nina Melendrez’s third-grade class at Paul D. Henry Elementary are becoming junior paleontologists by learning about dinosaurs, their habitat and the time they walked the earth.

“Kids will always be interested in dinosaurs. It doesn’t matter how young or how old they are. The love it; it’s such a high interest topic that you can do anything and everything with it,” Melendrez said.

Christina Padilla studied the allosaurus and will write a report and give an oral presentation on the giant reptile.

“I learned that you can be really creative when you study science. On my project, I used paper mache to make the dinosaur, painted it and used copper wire for the teeth and claws,” Padilla said.

Melendrez said some of the students worked on their science project during spring break, even though the lesson wasn’t due until the end of the month. She said students who turned their projects in early received extra credit.

“This is science, but it can encompass math by figuring out how long, how big, how much did they weigh. So that’s our math; geography comes in because they had to locate what part of the world certain dinosaurs lived,” Melendrez said.

Students learned that dinosaurs existed on all continents, but became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic period. The kids say they varied in size, from small to gigantic and many were heavily armored.