How to Feed the Kids on Dinosaur

Teachers of the Whole Child know how to lure young intellects out from behind child-like imaginations. (HINT: We use academic subjects as our bait.)
Teachers of the Whole Child know that youngsters can be motivated intellectually when we align the matter they are studying to material from their own inner lives.

We take our cues by observing the physical, emotional, and cognitive domains where our  kids’ intelligences dwell. We also pay attention to those ancient archetypes and mythological themes that are still playing out within the subconscious minds of young people.

Whole Child and Whole World become fittingly aligned in Curriculum when we teach 14 year olds about Rebellion.

Ancient Archetypes and Mythological Themes

Dinosaurs—- and whatever they symbolize to the subconscious mind—- have been an intensely fascinating subject for young children ever since museums put their fossilized remains on display in the 1870’s.

Teachers of the Whole Child are most likely to ask–


Pedagogical Thinking reveals the interrelatedness between a child’s inner life and the academic content being encountered in the curriculum. By defining these intrinsic connections between the learner and the subject, teachers of the Whole Child make available several more layers of intrinsic motivation in order to inspire their students to learn.

Pedagogical questions for the study of Dinosaurs

Grades preK-3

  • Is it coincidental that children become interested in pre-history, just as they master telling time?
  • As children confront the fact of evolution— that life on earth is constantly changing, that the earth itself is constantly changing, that species change, that human beings are part of a Circle of Life— how does it make them feel inside?
  • How can they appropriately articulate this concept?
  • Do children relate their experience of growing up inside a physical body with the zoological records of the births, the life spans and the deaths of so many individuals who, like themselves, also existed within an entire species?
  • As children start grasping, emotionally, their own mortality, what does the concept of extinction come to mean for them?
  • As children lose their baby teeth, do they gain a personal relationship to the fossilized remains of dinosaur jaws?
  • How might little kids, especially, show their empathy for the furry little mammals scurrying around on the forest floor at the feet of the dinosaurs?
  • How do literary archetypes found in stories like Aesop’s The Lion and the Mouse— echo these mythological themes of evolution?
  • How would a child describe the differences between the Brontosaurus (above, left) and the Brontosaurus (above, right)?
  • What emotional impact does the term “skeletal remains” make upon the young imagination?
  • When we ask a child to act out various types of dinosaurs— Allosaurus, Stegosaurs, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus— what does embodying each creature do for the psyche of that youngster?
  • How does a child react to the conflict between predator and prey?
  • What deep feelings get to be expressed in acting out each role?
  • What is the life cycle of a typical predator? What is the life cycle of its prey?
  • What numbers belong in a conversation about dinosaurs ex. quantitative measurements of size, weight, span of stride, food consumption, family members, life spans, speeds, quantitative impacts, numbers of years?

Pedagogy 101

Intrinsic Motivation vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Less than a generation ago, we were required to write down exactly how we intended to “hook” our students into that day’s lesson. Accounting for our students’ MOTIVATION came second only to stating the AIM of our lesson.

That whole space for considering why a student might want to learn the lesson that the teacher was teaching that day–has been missing and unaccounted for in teachers’ daily lesson plans since the 1990’s.

So as the Great COVID-Reset of 2020 continues to disrupt “normal learning” in our national school system, we should stop and take note of the extent to which American Public Education has become a numbers racket — a head-strong push by corporate education “Reformers” to raise test scores by drilling students incessantly all year long with pre-fabricated test preparation materials.



For three decades, corporate education “Reformers” have been asking, “Why waste so much time time and money motivating students — when you can just threaten them with severe consequences if they “fall behind?”

So it comes with a sense of irony here that our Educate the Whole Child initiative is choosing the subject of Dinosaurs in order to promote our contribution to the next evolutionary stage in American public education.

 1989- 2020

The Rise and Fall of


Three decades ago, the Business Council Roundtable switched out the well-reasoned and organically structured Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum for a newly concocted, abstract set of so-called Learning Standards– which had no standing at all with either traditional educational thinking, nor with any modern brain science.

Nonetheless, certain influential dabblers in educational theory rose up within our culture to demand accountability for all teaching and learning– and their “accountability” was to come in the form of assessments based on tidbits and factoids of random information. Presentations of disconnected data would now serve as the only recognized architecture for standardized instruction and standardized testing.

Of course, like so many other bad ideas, the Business Roundtable’s poorly contrived “Learning Standards” soon became dependent on government support in order to become profitable for business — even if never successful for schools.

Since the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, the Business Council Roundtable and its allies have profited from a national educational policy endorsing never-ending corporate EDUCATION REFORM– even though the performance of American students under this 30-year regime — by international standards–  has remained more abysmal than ever before.

Does a banker understand how children grow in developmental stages? Does a hedge fund manager appreciate how human knowledge has been historically transmitted through the contents of a Curriculum? Who among the billionaire class of amateur Businessman-Educationists can name even a single, pedagogical issue pertinent to an elementary school principal?

But the most glaringly obvious failure of all– after three decades of national educational policy run by businessmen — American students have lost their willingness to learn.



Pedagogical Questions

vis a vis

Thirty Years of Corporate “Education Reform”

  • How long can a learning community sustain relentless testing and measurement?
  • How have government mandates produced student achievements?
  • How are teachers to satisfy the diverse needs and motivations of a very savvy— if not also cynical— generation of young Americans?
  • What else but lack of motivation could explain why American students have placed 38th in the world on their Math skills, 24th in science, and 23rd in Reading?
  • When children are exposed to information with no intrinsic need to learn it, to what extent will they learn it anyway from getting excited by extrinsic rewards like prizes, recognition and cash incentives?
  • When children are exposed to information with no intrinsic need to learn it, will they learn it anyway from fear of extrinsic punishments like grade retention, disciplinary action, psychological labeling, requiring special services, deprivations of recess, the arts and physical education classes?
  • Do parents think it’s a wise educational practice for their children’s teachers to get paid cash bonuses tied to their children’s test scores?
  • Should the sole purpose of American education be making kids “college and career ready?”

  • Reviewing the history of education in America, what can we learn from discussions that have already taken place between the advocates for academic rigor in the curriculum– teaching subjects such as History, Literature, Mathematics and Science– and the proponents of a curriculum proscribing practical and vocational skills?
  • After it had been developed for over 2,500 years, and used as the foundation of secular Humanism in the West going back to the Renaissance– as well as having it provide, for centuries, a coherent infrastructure for the orderly transfer of established knowledge from one generation to the next– why was this new generation of Amateur Businessmen Educationists so bent on obliterating the classic curriculum in Liberal Arts and Sciences?  


Educate the Whole Child

and the Myrin Institute


Let’s Act Out!

an interactive Drama Class and TV Show for Young Actors and their Allies

Modeling how to educate the Whole Child through

  • Age-Appropriate Paleontology
    • PreK- Grade 3 Language Arts
      • Best Practices for Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts Integration
        • Using Multiple Intelligences
          • Practicing Mindfulness
            • Employing Best Practices in Social and Emotional Learning

Here are

3 episodes, approx. 30 minutes each

Let’s Act Out Dinosaur Dinner by Dennis Lee!























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