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Geology, Geography, and Climate



Students can write and illustrate a children’s book on anything related to North Dakota geology. Share the books with students in kindergarten through third grade after sharing them with classmates.

Children's Literature Checklist

Dinosaur Activities

Have students list the dinosaurs from the “Age of Reptiles.”

Find pictures of dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era and cut them in half. Give the students only one half of the picture and have them draw the other half any way they desire. When completed, have them give it a name and then write a descriptive paragraph about their newly created dinosaur.

Have students pantomime or act out various kinds of dinosaurs and have other students guess what kind of dinosaur is being portrayed.


Have students create a diorama (a shoe box placed flat or on its side is used, along with any materials the students may have) or a poster board depicting one of the four geologic eras from the geologic time table. This can be an individual, partner, or small-group project.

Poster Board Rubic

Field Trips

Take field trips to the Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson, the state Capitol grounds to view the petrified wood, the Heritage Center for paleontology, or one of the coal mines in North Dakota to learn first-hand how lignite coal is mined in North Dakota.


Play North Dakota Geology Bingo (blank card linked below). Have the students fill in the blank boxes with geology words provided. Shuffle the vocabulary cards with the definitions for the caller to use. The caller will select a card, read the definition, and the students will place a marker on the word that matches the definition. When BINGO is called, the student must read the word and give the definition before it is counted.

Bingo Card

Have students create a North Dakota geology board game using the North Dakota geology questions provided.

Board Game Rubric

Have students play these games using questions from the text: BINGO, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Trivial Pursuit, etc. The following site is a wonderful site with templates, directions, and examples of Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, or Hollywood Squares using PowerPoint. Possible categories: Geologic Eras; Geologic Periods; Dinosaurs; Glacial Effects or Remains; Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Deposits.

PowerPoint Activities

Geological Eras

Have students list the major geological eras of North Dakota and give characteristics of each.

Geological Era Chart

Have students graph, chart, or create a timeline for the major geological eras of North Dakota from oldest to most recent.

Geological Era Timeline Rubric

Students can illustrate dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era and describe each in detail either in writing or orally to another classmate. (Note: One student could describe the dinosaur while the other student draws what is being described)

Have students illustrate and describe the mammals present during the Tertiary Period or the “Age of Mammals.”

Have students write and perform puppet shows, slide shows (electronic or hand created), TV shows, etc., teaching about each of the geological eras of North Dakota.

Glossary Activities

Students can create and illustrate a North Dakota geological glossary. Include the time periods for each era. Identify the place values for each (i.e., ones, tens, hundreds, etc.).

Journal Ideas

“What if…” you lived during any of these eras? How would you have felt? Could you have survived? Which era would have most interested you and why?

Reflect on the causes of extinction of dinosaurs. This could also be used as a debate topic.

Formal Debate Guidelines


Have students create poetry corresponding to the North Dakota Studies unit they are studying:

Couplets (two-line stanza that rhymes).

Triplets (three-line poems). A triplet may be written in the shape of a triangle and can be read by starting at any corner.

  • Patterns include ABB (two of the lines rhyme)
  • AAA (all three lines rhyme)
  • ABC (no lines rhyme)


  • Line 1—five syllables
  • Line 2—seven syllables
  • Line 3—five syllables


  • Line 1—one word (title)
  • Line 2—two words (describe the title)
  • Line 3—three words (describe an action)
  • Line 4—four words (describe a feeling)
  • Line 5—one word (refer back to the title)

Diamanté (Diamond)

  • Line 1—one noun (subject #1)
  • Line 2—two adjectives (describing subject #1)
  • Line 3—three participles (ending in –ing, telling about subject)
  • Line 4—four nouns (first two related to subject #1, second two related to subject #2)
  • Line 5—three participles (about subject #2)
  • Line 6—two adjectives (describing subject #2)
  • Line 7—one noun (subject #2)

ABC Poetry (Start with A and go through the alphabet writing a word for each letter. You may make several sentences, but the information should be about North Dakota.)

Acrostic Poems (The first letters of the line spell out a word that has something to do with the poem.)

Lanterns (Japanese poem that is written in the shape of a Japanese lantern).

  • Line 1—one syllable
  • Line 2—two syllables
  • Line 3—three syllables
  • Line 4—four syllables
  • Line 5—one syllable

Research Activities

Using the colored Prehistoric Life of North Dakota map provided and/or the Internet site below, have students select an animal found on the map, compare the fossil remains with the actual animal, research that animal, illustrate or create a replica of it, and either write a report, create a poster with the appropriate information provided, write a nonfiction book about the selected animal, or provide another means of demonstrating knowledge for the selected animal.

North Dakota Geological Survey

Children's Literature Checklist

Students can define, list, describe, and/or categorize fossils found in North Dakota.

Have students research surface mining of lignite coal and graphically organize the steps in mining lignite coal in North Dakota.

Venn Diagrams

Have students use a two-circle Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the characteristics of the Quaternary Period with the Tertiary Period.

2-circle Venn Diagram

Students can use a two-circle Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the characteristics of herbivores and carnivores.

2-circle Venn Diagram


Have students use the geology vocabulary included in this packet to create word games, word searches, mazes, crack the code, etc. These can be created by subscribing to site below. This site grants you the right to reproduce as many worksheets as needed for noncommercial, individual, or classroom use.

Students can take any geology vocabulary word and create as many words as possible using only the letters found in that word (e.g., glaciers = ice, race, glare, slice, etc.).

Students can create a rap song or a jingle which could be used to teach others about the geology of North Dakota. Use the vocabulary and definitions provided. Good tunes to use for a jingle include: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” etc. However, students can create their own tune with songs they are familiar with.

Have students write each word 2–3 times with each hand. (These are strong activities as they promote greater brain activity and concentration.)

Have students compose a fiction/nonfiction story using North Dakota geological vocabulary.

Children's Literature Checklist

Have students write each word (cursive) at least three times.