Adventures in Ethics and Science

Yes, the Free-Ride offspring think they have the power to declare today “Dinosaur Day”. This is your official notification.

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It’s not all play on “Dinosaur Day” though. Sometimes a sprog has homework to do.

i-3e93831bfcb9ce5c99ad5fe9b4c530cd-PteranodonBook.jpgThe elder Free-Ride offspring had a dinosaur project due this week, a model of a dinosaur (yes, I know that officially pteranodon doesn’t count as a dinosaur because of the whole flying thing — they’re not drawing such sharp distinctions for this project) accompanied by a brief paragraph about where that dinosaur lived, what it ate, and the usual sort of dinoformatics. (Actually, there were lots of other options for the project, ranging from making a diorama to writing a poem to teaching the class a song about dinosaurs, but my child wanted to make a dinosaur model.) The book borrowed from the school library for the project, Pteranodon by Daniel Cohen, was adequate for the project — it showed multiple poses of pteranodons and pteranodon skeletons, and provided useful information about size, diet, and lifestyle. Even more helpful was the background reading elder offspring did on working with clay, wherein it was revealed that aluminum foil can make a good armature. Verily, the heavy-duty aluminum foil elder offspring used worked like a charm.

The challenge was figuring out how to array a prehistoric creature with so many long and pointy bits so that gravity wouldn’t rip any of them off while the clay hardened. An old dish-drain and various bits of packing material were pressed into service.

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Making thin enough wings out of clay, even with foil underneath, seemed improbable, so elder offspring made a mixed media creation, gluing construction paper wings to the pteranodon and using pipe cleaners (known nowadays as “craft chenille”) and strapping tape to attach hands and feet.

Partly in the interests of time and partly because “no one knows for sure what color they were”, this pteranodon was left unpainted except for eyes, beak and crest, and some snazzy stripes on its chest (since “no one knows for sure that they didn’t have stripes”). The pteranodon also got a nice blue construction paper fish glued to its beak.

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It’s hard to appreciate the majesty of this noble creature when it’s splayed out on a dish-drain or clutched in the hand of the parent of the artiste. Really, you have to imagine this fellow (at around 35 lbs.) in flight:

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Keep an eye on your goldfish!

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    March 30, 2007

    Cool! But in the movie version, don’t the Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad invent a real time machine, so the kid can bring a real one to school? And then of course it escapes from the cage,and hilarity (or horror) ensues?

    The real question is whether Angelina Jolie, or Scarlet Johanson plays the Dr. Mom?

  2. #2 ctenotrish
    March 30, 2007

    I love Fridays!! Between Orac and the Free-ride family, I am sure to have a great read (though Orac had a major ick-factor today). Funnily enough, I was just given a T-rex thank you card from a 5-year-old, in appreciate for a pen that has a double helix that lights up and changes color with each press of the button. Happy Dinosaur day, people. Cheers, ctenotrish.