Lesson plan

Labs: Launch Stage - Create

teaches Common Core State Standards SL.2.1.a http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/2/1/a
teaches Common Core State Standards SL.2.1 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/2/1
teaches Common Core State Standards L.2.1.d http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/2/1/d
teaches Common Core State Standards L.2.4 http://corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/2/4

Labs: Launch Stage - Create

Learning target: 

  • I can identify the shapes that make a dinosaur.

  • I can sculpt the shapes of a dinosaur.


  • Students examine a picture of a dinosaur, working together to identify the various shapes that make the dinosaur. (Students may name 2-D or 3-D shapes, depending on their own background knowledge.)

  • Students explore with clay, attempting to sculpt the various shapes of a dinosaur.

  • Students explore with toothpicks or skewers, attempting to attach the parts of a dinosaur together.

In advance:


  • Review the Labs song.
  • Post: Focus question (optional).

Setting Goals 

  • Post: Guiding question and learning target(s) for the Lab students will be launching that day (see detailed plans for each Lab on the pages that follow).

In the Lab

  • Based on classroom setup and available technology, determine the best way to display photographs of dinosaurs and model shaping clay into various shapes necessary to make dinosaur body parts.

  • Prepare four workstations by covering them with paper or plastic and supplying them with several pictures of dinosaurs, 10 pounds of clay divided equally per workstation, a cup of water, toothpicks, and skewers.

  • Choose a picture of a dinosaur to use for modeling (see supporting materials).

  • Gather 15 pounds of white air-dry clay. Typically this material can be found in 2.5- or 5-pound containers. The same clay can be reused through the Launch, Practice, and Extend stages. Five pounds of new clay will be provided for students who choose the Create Lab for the Choice and Challenge stage.

  • Determine:

    • A storage option for clay between uses. The clay needs to be moistened (not soaked) at the end of each day and then placed in an airtight container or plastic bag.
    • The signal (bell, word, silent signal) you will use throughout Labs to let students know when it is time to clean up their station.

Reflect on Learning

  • Post: Sentence frames or picture clues for any reflection questions you will use regularly (optional).



  • Labs song (one to display)

  • Text for Storytime (chosen by teacher)

Setting Goals

  • Labs notebook (new; one per student and one for teacher modeling)

  • Pencils (one per student)

  • Learning target(s) (one to display for each Lab; see Launch Stage: At-a-Glance for the specific targets for each Lab)

In this Lab

  • Pictures of dinosaurs (one for teacher modeling and several per workstation)

  • Air-dry clay (class set; for teacher modeling and divided into containers for each workstation)

  • Cup of water (one per workstation)

  • Toothpicks (one for teacher modeling; several per student)

  • Skewers (one for teacher modeling; several per student per workstation)

Reflecting on Learning

  • Labs song (one to display)

  • Labs notebook (one for teacher modeling and one per student)