St Aiden’s Homeschool

Footsteps on the Road to Learning

I’m Learning About Dinosaurs
Stegosaurus
Includes activities on Earth Science & Palaeontology
Lesson Plans, Crafts, Activity Sheets & Teacher/Parent Guides/Resources

Gr K-6
www.staidenshomeschool.com

Donnette E Davis

Learning About Dinosaurs K-6

Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus is Greek for "plated lizard", this name is given to the dinosaur due to a
heavy armour of plates down its back. It is also sometimes known as one of the
dumbest dinosaurs, because it had a very small brain compared to its large body.

What did they look like?
An average Stegosaurus was about 12 m long (40 ft) and about 2.75 m tall (9 ft).
The Stegosaurus weighed about 2,000 kg! The Stegosaurus's front feet had five toes
on each foot and there were three on each back foot. The feet resembled gigantic
horse hoofs and the people who first discovered them actually thought they might
have come from giant horses!

Size Compared to a Human

The most prominent feature of a Stegosaurus was the row of plates running down its
back, along the spine. These plates could be larger than 75 cm in height. It was
once thought that these were used as protection against predators such as the
Allosaurus, but in fact they were not solid bone and would have been easy to
break. They were also covered with thin skin and lots of blood vessels.
Nobody knows for sure what the back-plates were used for, but many scientists now
believe that they were used for temperature control — to gather heat from the
surroundings. They would have been used like solar panels. When the animal
needed to warm up, it would stand with its side toward the sun. The thin skin and
many blood vessels covering the plates would soak up the heat of the sun. When
the Stegosaurus got too hot, it could stand in the shade, or turn itself to face the sun
(or face away from it). Then the blood vessels could be cooled.
For defence Stegosaurus did have four (or eight) heavy spikes on their tails, which
could be used to hit attackers in defence.
Stegosaurus's mouth was shaped a bit like a beak and had no teeth in the front —
probably for snipping plants.
Donnette E Davis 2009 www.staidenshomeschool.com

30

Learning About Dinosaurs K-6

What did they eat?
Stegosaurus were herbivores, meaning they ate plants. They mainly liked to browse
the lower levels of plant life because those were the easiest to reach with their short
necks. These plants were mostly low-nutrition plants such as ferns, moss, cycads,
and baby evergreen trees. Most of the plant life was as low as 3–4 feet. The
Stegosaurs may have been able to rear up on their hind legs for short periods of
time to graze plants that were otherwise out of reach when food on the ground
was scarce.
Because the plants they ate had little nutrition in each bite, Stegosaurus had to eat
a lot. They would spend most of their day eating.

When did they live?
They lived during the late Jurassic period about 156–140 million years ago.

Where did they live?
They lived in Subtropical forests in the USA, though there have been closely related
dinosaurs living in other parts of the world including Africa, China, Mongolia,
England and Europe.
Stegosaurus fossils have been found in these US states: Colorado, Utah and
Wyoming.

How were they discovered?
The first Stegosaurus fossil was found in Colorado, USA, in 1876 by M. P. Felch. They
were named in 1877 by Othniel C. Marsh.
The most complete Stegosaurus fossil ever found was nicknamed "Spike". It was
discovered in Colorado, USA by Bryan Small, Tim Seeber, and Kenneth Carpenter in
1992.

What do we need to learn?


We would like to know why Stegosaurus had the big bony plates on its back.
Did they cool Stegosaurus? Did it use them to show off? Or protect itself? We
don't know.
Stegosaurus's back plates were not solid — they were filled with long hollow
tubes or tunnels. What were they for?
Stegosaurus had cousins, known as Stegosaurs. Some of the cousins lived in
herds (like cows and horses do today), and some did not. We would like to
know if Stegosaurus was a herd animal, or if it lived mostly alone.
Stegosaurus had a very small brain. Scientists used to think it had a second
brain, back in its hip area. Now we think that this structure just helped
Stegosaurus control its tail and hind legs. We would like to know for sure.
Discuss herbivores and carnivores. What is the difference between the two.
Donnette E Davis 2009 www.staidenshomeschool.com

31

Learning About Dinosaurs K-6

In your own words answer the following questions in as much detail as you possibly can. For younger
learners it would be beneficial for the parent/educator to make notes based on the child’s answers.

What did they look like? (Their size, how they walked, some interesting facts
about their different parts, etc)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

What did they eat? (Plant-eaters, omnivorous, or carnivorous, or more?)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

When did they live? (Not all species of dinosaurs were alive during the K-T event.
There were several development periods for different dinosaur species and some
were likely "ancestors" of other dinosaurs found in later periods.)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Donnette E Davis 2009 www.staidenshomeschool.com

32

Learning About Dinosaurs K-6

Where did they live? (Ocean, shallow seas, jungle, grasslands, etc.)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

How were they discovered? (Discussions about where the fossils were found and
perhaps even names and information about the discoverer.)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

What do we need to learn? (To demonstrate that science is still evolving and
that we don't know all of the answers.)
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
______
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Donnette E Davis 2009 www.staidenshomeschool.com

33

Learning About Dinosaurs K-6

Acknowledgements, Thanks & Terms of Use
We would love to hear your comments on this workbook. If you have a moment please email your
comments and suggestions to feedback@staidenshomeschool.com
Other Volumes In Our Series Of Workbooks
AFRICA
ALPHABET, VOWELS & CONSONANTS
ANIMALS
COLOURS, SHAPES, PUZZLES
DOLCH WORDS , WORD FAMILIES & PHONICS
NUMBERS AND COUNTING
© All rights reserved. Digital duplication, electronic transmission or posting of the contents contained,
printing, photocopying, and/or distribution of copies of content is prohibited with the exception of the
purchaser reproducing as many copies as necessary for use by their own family or single classroom.
Altering, amending, or reproducing portions of this document or the contents contained herein, in any
other than the original format is prohibited. Every caution has been taken to ensure that the information
contained herein is accurate. However by the use of this product the user absolves Donnette E Davis and/or
St Aiden’s Homeschool and/or her/its duly authorised representative/s from any liability or obligation
arising out of the use hereof whatsoever. Any changes to these terms and conditions must be made in
writing and agreed to by all parties involved.
While the contents of this package are in the public domain we have spent many man hours compiling this
unit and therefore hold the Compilation Copyright to this Collection. Additionally while you can copy the
content of Public Domain material which is freely available, the format, layout, design and images and
graphic content, including web pages, i.e. the unit, remains the sole property of Donnette E Davis and/or St
Aiden’s Homeschool and/or her/its duly appointed agents.
Wikipedia, Public Domain images and my own personal collection of PD images purchased & licensed
through Green Label Clipart Collection have been used in this eBook.
Special thanks to:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of
Communications and Outreach,
Helping Your Child Learn Science,
Washington, D.C., 2005.
AND

http://edc2.usgs.gov
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
Donnette E Davis © 2009
St Aiden’s Homeschool, South Africa & The Child Development Spot
P O Box 13720
Cascades
3202
KwaZulu-Natal
Republic of South Africa
www.staidenshomeschool.com

Donnette E Davis 2009 www.staidenshomeschool.com

266

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful