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Dinosaur Teeth

September 12, 2008

size of plaster of paris t-rex tooth compared to child's head

Giving your child the chance to examine and hold a tooth that is the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex’s tooth is something she won’t soon forget. The questions serve as a guide for discussions. Allow your child to explore whatever questions that she may have.


Tyrannosaurus Rex Tooth Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus Tooth
meat eater plant eater
approximately 6 inches long approximately 1 inch long
pointy tip flat tip
serrated edge smooth peg like

Preparation for Activity

Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth

play dough (homemade or store bought)
8 1/2″ by 11″ card stock or thin cardboard
Plaster of Paris
8″ plastic cup
masking tape
  1. The Tyrannosaurus Rex’s tooth is approximately 6″ long, serrated and pointy.  Make a cone shape with the thin cardboard or card stock to use as a form. Use masking tape to keep it in place.
  2. Flatten the play dough on the table then using the flat side, cover the cone. Build up the sides of the cone with play dough.
  3. Remove the cardboard cone.
  4. Place the play dough form inside a plastic cup with the opening facing up.
  5. Push the tip of a pencil into the play dough every quarter inch to make the serrated marks of the tooth.  The serrated marks are in a single line starting at the top of one side of the tooth running down one end to the tip of the tooth and back up the other side.
  6. When you are happy with the shape of the tooth, mix the Plaster of Paris and carefully pour it into the opening.
  7. Let it set overnight.  Since it is so thick, it may take longer to completely dry.  When it feels dry, remove the play dough.  The tooth will need minor adjustments to give it a serrated edge. You can use a file or knife to file off pieces.

Dino Teeth

Activity for the Big Day

Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth
Apatosaurus tooth
baby tooth, if available
  1. Compare the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Apatosaurus teeth.
  2. Talk about size and shape.
  • If you happen to have a baby tooth that the tooth fairy left behind, have it next to the dinosaur teeth that you made. This will help make the comparison between human teeth and dinosaur teeth easier to imagine. The size difference won’t seem real so it’s important to emphasis that this was really the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex not just something you made up.
  • Set the teeth out with the Dino Diner activity.

Think About It!

Some questions that might be asked:

  1. What is something about the same size as Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth? How about the Apatosaurus?
  2. Why do you think a Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth is shaped so differently from an Apatosaurus tooth?
  3. How would you describe them?
  4. Do Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus eat the same kinds of food?
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