Teacher's Guide for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins
1. Draw several fossil bones on a white piece of paper, xerox a class set, and give each student one copy of the fossils and a blank piece of colored paper. Have them cut out the fossils.
Just as Waterhouse Hawkins, Richard Owen, and other early paleontologists began with a few scattered fossils and had to deduce the rest of the skeleton, ask each student to design a dinosaur, using the fossils provided and then 'filling in the blanks' with their best estimation of what the rest of the skeleton might look like. Have them glue the fossils bones on their piece of paper and then draw in the rest of the skeleton.
2. As a child, Brian Selznick, the illustrator of The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, used to make small dinosaur models out of tin foil. Give each student several pieces of tin foil to create their own dinosaur models to display in the classroom.
As a follow-up, create a dinosaur feast, just as Waterhouse Hawkins did to share his own dinosaur models:
-- create special invitations using the actual invitation (shown in the book's front papers) as inspiration
-- create a menu using the actual menu (shown in the book's end papers) as inspiration
-- invite important dignitaries, such as the school principal and members of the school board, to attend the feast!
3. Deinos Sauros comes from the Greek for "terrible lizard." Visit the American Museum of Natural History's site for a lesson plan on dinosaur names (as well as many other lessons about dinosaurs).
4. When Waterhouse Hawkins's American dinosaurs were smashed, he protested to the Parks Department. They told him not to waste his time with "dead animals" when there were so many living ones around. Ask students to write a letter to "Boss" Tweed, explaining why they think that studying dinosaurs is important, or a waste of time.
Alternatively, divide the class in half to create arguments for each side of the debate (studying dinosaurs is important; studying dinosaurs is a waste of time). Have each group brainstorm talking points for 'their' side and then have a real debate, with one student acting as Waterhouse Hawkins and another acting as Boss Tweed.
5. Adorning the walls of Waterhouse's dinosaur feast were four names: (William) Buckland, (Georges) Cuvier, (Richard) Owen, and (Gideon) Mantell. Ask students to research these four men to learn how they contributed to the science of paleontology. (For extra credit, ask students to find out how Gideon Mantell's wife also made a contribution!)