Monday, March 08, 2010

What to do about dinosaurs

The homeschool curriculum we use doesn't dig too deeply into dinosaurs, mainly because the choice of science materials is more or less up to the individual family.

I have a third grader who's curious about dinosaurs.

But I'm having some trouble deciding on appropriate materials to get started with. There are lots of millions-of-years-ago books at the library. There are also creation-based materials that suggest that people could have co-existed with dinosaurs. But if a recent news article spouting nasty things about creation-based science texts, and its vicious line of comments afterwards, is anything to go by, there are an awful lot of people out there who think creation-believing Christians belong in the Mesozoic era.

Yes, I do know what that is. And I take issue with the idea that teaching children faith in a loving creator God (who also created dinosaurs) is brainwashing anybody. I'm just a little hung up on where you start teaching this. How do you keep a first course in dinosaurs from turning into a first course in disaster, one way or the other? Besides the evolution-creation questions, dinosaurs are so hard to keep up with...a couple of the books we have here still talk about the brontosaurus.

I received suggestions to use BBC videos such as Chased by Dinosaurs, which are in our library system although I haven't seen them yet; and to pick up a copy of Deborah Cadbury's Terrible Lizard (also at the library), which is an adult book about fossil hunters, and adapt that a bit. I like that idea, of focusing somewhat on how people got started looking for dinosaurs in the first place, along with teaching some of the basic stuff about types of dinosaurs and how big they were.

I've also browsed around quite a bit online, and so far my favourite creation-based dinosaur study is the 8-day one on HomeschoolShare, even though we don't have a copy of the main book they use and probably won't get one. It covers most of the same information found on this site. I'm also interested in checking out more of the Great Alaskan Dinosaur Adventure. But we'll also read Elin Kelsey's book Finding Out About Dinosaurs, an Owl Magazine book; and we have a DK Dinosaur Action Pack that I picked up at a thrift shop. (That was good for at least a couple of posters.)

Stay tuned for more dinosaur doings.


Sarah said...

I'll be interested in seeing your posts on this. My son has been interested in space and I can see this becoming a question for him, too. We teach creation as in, God made it, but we don't necessarily teach Young Earth. This seems to leave us the wiggle room needed between what science knows at this moment and what the Bible teaches.

Good luck!

coffeemamma said...

When Gracie went through her dinosaur 'phase' she loved a couple of picture book biographies we found about Mary Anning and Waterhouse Hawkins. I can't remember the names, but I'm sure the library will have them.

Ryan said...

Have you checked out anything from Answers in Genesis? This book by Ken Ham in particular looks quite good. You can also go to their store and do a search for dinosaurs for some more results.

We also offer A DVD documentary on dinosaurs if you're interested.

Birdie said...

One of the favorite dinosaurs books for my brood is "Dinosaurs by Design".

Sebastian said...

One of the issues I have with the discussion of evolution/old earth/young earth is the sense the people on each side hold the others in contempt. There doesn't seem to be much graciousness from many of the writers toward people who look at the scientific evidence and come to a different conclusion. Debate and even discussion seems to get shut down with a huff and rolled eyes that give the impression that the other side is barely being tolerated (being such simpletons as to hold such an unreasonable viewpoint).
I think that the disclosures over less than scientificly appropriate behavior concerning global warming is a warning sign that scientists are still humans, with the weaknesses and foibles that includes. As are the authors of creation science materials.
I don't find that 100% buy in to evolution as the origins of life (not just change within a species) is a mandatory element to scientific curiosity. Nor do I find that young earth agreement is a necessary part of salvation. Though I think that might leave be dismissed by both sides as misguided and naive.

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