Smaller Than You Think

Part of the Dinosaurs: Activities and Lesson Plans Curriculum Collection.


In this activity students will compare a life-size drawing of a Tyrannosaurus rex head and a full-size Sinornithosaurus body to understand that dinosaurs varied in size.


Students will:

  • understand that the size of dinosaurs ranged from very small to very large. Time Frame Approximately two periods (40 minutes each) Materials
  • Six-inch-square pieces of paper (one per student)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencils and black Magic Markers
  • Grids of a Tyrannosaurus head and a Sinornithosaurus body



1. Duplicate the two grids and cut out each square, making sure you keep the two dinosaurs separate. (When completed, the Tyrannosaurus head will measure about 3 feet x 4 feet. The Sinornithosaurus body will measure about 1 foot x 3 feet.)

Prior Knowledge

2. Call on volunteers to describe the size of the dinosaurs they know. Remind students that while many of the dinosaurs were large, there were also many that were small. 


3. Tell students they are going to create life-size drawings of two dinosaurs. Distribute a 6-inch-square piece of paper and a cut-up grid square to each student. Have them write the number of the grid square in the upper-left corner of the blank square.

4. Have students use pencils to duplicate the lines of the small grid on the 6-inch square. Tell students that the drawing must match the grid square exactly.

5. When students are done, display the pictures of both the Tyrannosaurus rex head and the Sinornithosaurus body. Have students check their own grid square to make sure all the connections match. Once the connections are adjusted, have students go over their pencil lines with Magic Marker.


6. Have students work in two groups to assemble the dinosaurs. Have them tape their squares to a wall to complete the life-size drawing. Once the dinosaurs are complete, have students compare and comment on their sizes.