Over the next three classes, students passed around little dinosaur figurines taking turns to carefully observe and draw a bunch of different dinosaurs. Before starting the drawings, I read a book about dinosaurs so they had an idea of which dinosaurs were meat eaters, plant eaters, which ones flew and which walked. The 1st graders were very, very excited about this project.
They drew the contour lines of the dinosaurs with fine tip Sharpies first. I instructed them to really focus on shapes and textures. Next they used colored pencils to color the dinosaurs the colors of the figurines. If the dinosaur was mostly blue but had a black belly and brown spots, they had to be sure to use all three of those colors.
At the end of this, each student had their own little dinosaur book to take home. Some students worked so meticulously that they only had three dinosaur drawings, while others filled both pages of their entire book. These 1st graders were extremely excited about proud about this project. I will definitely repeat it next year. I also love the idea of doing small books like this with other grades with different sorts of plants or animals too.