Dinoviz: Exploring the History and Nature of Science Through the Progression of Dinosaur Visualizationby: Renee Clary and James Wandersee

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Dinosaurs in the middle school classroom can be exciting. These extinct reptiles are both an exotic subject and familiar to our students. Because students are inherently interested, dinosaurs can serve as an effective portal for the integration of biology, geology, ecology, and the history and nature of science. The field of dinosaur study is dynamic, and our knowledge of these animals—as well as our images of them—advances with each new discovery. The authors developed the DinoViz project to tap into the rich resources of historic dinosaur images and reveal the progression and nature of science to their students through the evolution of dinosaur illustrations.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:43 AM

This article has excellent background information about dinosaurs. As new discoveries of dinosaurs are made, our vision of dinosaurs has changed. Science is always changing every second as discoveries are made and this article does an excellent job of teaching this to students as they explore visualizations of dinosaurs through the last few decades.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:05 PM

While this project is recommended for middle school students, I could definitely see my high school earth science students enjoying this project. I think this is a very valuable project because it teaches students to think critically about the illustrations they are viewing. They need to ask themselves if the art is based on current science understanding or if it shows some type of misconception.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Mon May 09, 2011 3:30 PM

This article does an excellent job of explaining the History and Nature of Science in context of how dinosaurs are visualized. The authors begin by outlining the history of dinosaurs in the fossil record and how scientists studied dinosaurs over the years. The authors then outline a program called DinoViz. In this project, students compile portfolios of dinosaur illustrations spanning 5 decades and then research and evaluate the geological and biological characteristics portrayed. This project offers an excellent opportunity for cross-curriular lessons in art and history. I look forward to implementing this project with my students soon!

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

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