Pupils Study Dinosaurs at School

For children at a local school, this spring term has had them focusing on all things Dinosauria as studying dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals was their term topic.  Given the weather we have had in March, it might have been more appropriate to have studied the Ice Age, but at least the school children did manage to get their hands on a Woolly Mammoth tooth during a visit from one of the Everything Dinosaur team members.

The shape of fossil teeth can help scientists to understand a little more about what extinct creatures might have eaten and the eager young palaeontologists were keen to demonstrate their knowledge of herbivores and carnivores.  During a break in the teaching activities, our team member was given a quick tour of the school’s very own dinosaur land.  The wildlife area at the back of the playground had been converted into a “Jurassic Park” with brightly coloured dinosaur cut-outs adorning  this fenced in area.  There was a Diplodocus, (a herbivorous dinosaur), as we were informed by one enthusiastic pupil and propped up against the fence there was a meat-eating dinosaur plus a very fierce looking Triceratops complete with horns and sharp teeth.

 The School Triceratops

Colourful school Triceratops.

Colourful school Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The pupils got the chance to examine some Triceratops teeth (T. horridus) and to compare them to the teeth of other dinosaurs who ate different types of food.  Imagining a dinosaur with a tongue about as tall as you are, is quite helpful when it comes to Key Stage 1 school children working out where in a food web might a Triceratops be placed.

Alongside the Triceratops, was another plant-eating dinosaur which the children were delighted to show off.  It was a Stegosaurus, complete with very striking orange plates running along its back.

The Stegosaurus Cut-Out Dinosaur

A very brightly coloured Stegosaurus.

A very brightly coloured Stegosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Perched high in a nearby tree, keeping a close eye on the proceedings was a large Pterosaur (flying reptile).  The red crest and neck of this toothless Pterosaur made the cut-out stand out against the branches.  It is very likely that Pterosaurs had excellent colour vision, perhaps this was a flying reptile depicted in its mating regalia ready to display to any passing female Pteranodons should any fly by.

The Pterosaur (Pteranodon longiceps)?

A Pterosaur with its colourful neck and head crest.

A Pterosaur with its colourful neck and head crest.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It seems that for the duration of the spring term, this part of the school playground has been turned into the children’s own dinosaur theme park.  Such an imaginative use of odd cuts of wood and spare paint, that was greatly appreciated by the children.  We explored what we do and what we don’t know about the colour of extinct creatures during our morning visit and the school children were very eager to display their knowledge and to talk about the dinosaur themed activities that they had been doing.

It seems that this spring term topic has been a big success, the enthusiastic teaching team using the dinosaurs theme to help develop the children’s numeracy, literacy and artistic skills.  Look out Steven Spielberg, you may have some challengers when it comes to designing the prehistoric animals that are going to feature in the film “Jurassic Park IV”!

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