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Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaurs of a Feather

Learn about feathers and create a 3-D picture of what a feathered Velociraptor might have looked like.


  • variety of bird feathers (available from a pet shop or bird owner)
    NOTE: Find feathers from different parts of birds, such as tail feathers, wing feathers and so on. IMPORTANT: Make sure feathers are clean.
  • magnifying glass
  • colored feathers from a craft store
  • white glue


  1. Show your child the video of the “Now With Feathers!” video in which Buddy and Tiny meet Valerie Velociraptor, admire her feathers, and learn what functions they serve — to keep dinosaurs warm and to keep eggs warm in the nest.
  2. Have your child look at a variety of (cleaned) bird feathers from a pet store or bird owner. Encourage her to discuss the differences in color, texture and size. You might have your child talk about which feathers might be used for warmth, for flight, for decoration and so on. Ask your child to drop the feathers and watch them fall. Ask: What is one reason that feathers weigh so little?
  3. Have your child examine the feathers under a magnifying glass. Ask her to discuss what feathers look like close-up. Any surprises?
  4. Give your child a picture of a Velociraptor without any feathers. Explain that scientists once thought that this dinosaur species did not have feathers, but now based on fossils, we know that it did. Show your child a picture of Valerie Velociraptor from this episode. You can explain that while no actual feathers have survived from millions of years ago, we know where the feathers used to be because the fossilized bones of Velociraptors have “nubs” similar to those on the bones of modern birds, where their feathers are attached.
  5. Have your child use glue to attach colored feathers to the picture.

Take It Further

  • In this episode, we discover that under his cap, the train Conductor has feathers on his head. Create a simple paper crown and attach an "X" across the top. Then attach craft store feathers to the top to create a feathered Troodon head.

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