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June 10

The Crystal Palace hosted the first display of life-size dinosaur replicas in 1854.

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The Crystal Palace hosted the first display of life-size dinosaur replicas in 1854.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

On a series of three artificial islands and in the surrounding ponds, visitors to the 1854 World's Fair at the Crystal Palace in London saw the first life-size replicas of dinosaurs such as the Iguanodon, the Megalosaurus, and Pterodactyls, all created by sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Waterhouse Hawkins' dinosaur replicas offer a great opportunity for an inquiry-based project. Some of Hawkins' models are known for their minor errors or incomplete detail. Consider the horn on the Iguanodon or the submerged Mosasaur (with body obscured since only fossils of the head had been discovered). The replicas are in fact more of a historical artifact than an accurate scientific model.

After learning about Hawkins' replicas, do a study of what we know about these same dinosaurs today-what did Hawkins get right and where did he draw the wrong conclusions? Students could work individually or in small groups to investigate a dinosaur of their choice, comparing Hawkins' versions to current knowledge about the prehistoric animals. The ReadWriteThink Venn Diagram is a nice tool to help students organize and present their findings.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • The Best Dinosaur Books for Kids

    This page from Smithsonian.com lists some dinosaur books appropriate for kids, along with brief descriptions.

     

  • The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs Page

    Nyder's site includes photos of all the remaining dinosaurs in their original location on artificial islands outside the site of the original Crystal Palace building at Sydenham.

     

  • Dinosaur History: Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins

    This Brooklyn College page details not only Hawkins' work on the Crystal Palace dinosaur replicas but also the ill-fated plans to build similar replicas in New York City.

     

  • Build a Dino

    This site, part of Project Exploration, follows the steps taken as the Jobaria dinosaur is found, dug up, and prepared for display.

     

RELATED RESOURCES

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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.