Category: Educational Activities

Dinosaurs, Rocks and Fossils

Dinosaurs, Rocks and Fossils with Year 3 (Broadway Primary School)

A busy morning spent working with the enthusiastic pupils in Year 3 at Broadway Primary as the children have been learning about life in the past and exploring dinosaurs as their topic for the second part of the autumn term.  This subject area links nicely into the national curriculum science element for England at Lower Key Stage 2 (Rocks, Animals and Working Scientifically).  One of the aims of that part of the curriculum related to learning about different types of rocks involves explaining how fossils form and what fossils can tell us about extinct animals.  The girls and boys got the chance to cast their own fossils from Everything Dinosaur’s collection and thanks to the classroom wall they learnt all about how sedimentary rocks get laid down.

Can you See the Layers of Sedimentary Rocks?

Can you see the different coloured bands which represent different layers of rock?

Can you see the different coloured bands which represent different layers of rock?

Picture Credit: Montana State University/Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows a view of the amazing Judith River Formation which can be found in Montana (north-western United States).  These rocks were laid down in layers towards the end of “Age of Dinosaurs”, near to the end of the Cretaceous Period.  The dinosaur fossils we find in these rocks are approximately 79-75 million years old.  Duck-billed dinosaurs and horned dinosaur fossils can be found (herbivores).  There are also fossils of the meat-eating dinosaurs (carnivores) but these are much less common then the plant-eaters.  Can Year 3 work out why?

We can also find fossils of salamanders, bony fish, lizards and several types of crocodiles, although none of these crocodiles are closely related to the crocodiles alive today.

Dinosaurs and Maths

As part of our workshop and in order to support a number of mathematical themed extension exercises, we looked at how big the teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex really are.  One of the “pinkie palaeontologist” challenges we set the class was whether or not the children could use the special “greater than” and “less than” symbols we sent over to make a table listing items in the classroom that were bigger or small than the T. rex tooth they saw.  Could the children think of a way to present their data?

Benjamin’s favourite dinosaur was Velociraptor, he and some of his chums were shown an unusual way to measure a dinosaur.  Once this relatively small dinosaur had been measured we set the class another challenge that involved them trying to measure a much larger, carnivorous dinosaur.  Let’s hope they can master their eight times table, as this would certainly help!

Dinosaur Models Made by the Children

Model dinosaurs on display at Broadoak Primary School.

Model dinosaurs on display at Broadoak Primary School.

Picture Credit: Broadway Primary School

On the classroom walls there was lots of excellent evidence of independent learning, the books at the back of the classroom had inspired the young researchers.  There were also a number of wonderful dinosaur models on display.   The Year 3 class had produced some excellent dinosaur replicas and we loved the “Thomasaurus”.

Dinosaurs and Literacy

In collaboration with Miss Heaton (class teacher), we were able to advise on further extension resources, focusing on literacy.  Different types of writing activities were proposed (non-fiction and fiction) and we challenged the children to use some of the resources that we had provided to write statements about prehistoric animals and also to think up some questions to pose for us.  We know Ethan and Emma have questions, we suggested that they save them in their heads and then include them in a thank you letter that they could compose and send to the Everything Dinosaur offices.

We look forward to seeing some of the results of the children’s research as they study rocks, fossils and dinosaurs.

Celebrating South African Dinosaurs

Poster Celebrates  South African Dinosaurs

Earlier this week, scientists from the Evolutionary Studies Institute of Witwatersrand University (Johannesburg) put on display the fragmentary fossils of a huge dinosaur which roamed South Africa.  The fossils date from the Early Jurassic and represent an plant-eating dinosaur, a Sauropod that measured perhaps in excess of sixteen metres.  There have been a number of remarkable fossil finds over the last two years or so in South Africa.  These discoveries have helped to shed new light onto the fauna and flora of the Late Triassic and the Early Jurassic geological periods.  The announcement of the latest dinosaur discovery the “Highland Giant” coincided with the celebration of UNESCO’s World Science Day for Peace and Development.  A special poster has been commissioned to celebrate South African dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.  This poster was designed by artist and poet Maggie Newman.

Celebrating the  Prehistoric Life of South Africa

The prehistoric life of South Africa.

The prehistoric life of South Africa.

Picture Credit: The Evolutionary Studies Institute (Witwatersrand University)

The beautiful and very detailed poster depicts South Africa some 200 million years ago (Hettangian faunal stage of the Early Jurassic), a time when the continents were formed into a super-sized landmass that was beginning to split apart.  Dinosaurs were becoming the dominant terrestrial fauna but they shared the land with a wide range of other bizarre reptiles as well as some synapsids that were from the branch of the Tetrapoda that would lead to modern mammals.

Poster Key

This poster shows a scene in South Africa between 200 and 183 million years ago.  At the time the continents were splitting apart and there were many volcanic eruptions (1).  The climate was drying and there were sand dunes (2), tree ferns (3), yellowood (4), monkey puzzle (5) and ginkgo trees (6) formed patches of forest.  Early dinosaurs like this egg-laying Massospondylus (7) are shown fending off a hungry Coelophysis (8).  Heterodontosaurus (9) was different from other dinosaurs because it had incisor, canine and molar type teeth for cutting, biting and grinding up their plant food.  The name Heterodontosaurus means “different types of teeth” and this interesting small animal may have had quills like a porcupine.  In the scene, three Heterodontosaurus are fleeing a kill made by a crested dinosaur called Dracovenator (10), a relative of Dilophosaurus.  The Dracovenator is being threatened by a Ceratosaur (11).  The herbivorous Aardonyx dinosaurs (12) in the background are foraging peacefully.  Dinosaurs were not the only animals alive at this time.  Megazostrodon (13) was a small insect eating animal closely related to the earliest mammals.  Tritylodon (14) was a mammal ancestor with teeth like a dassie (Rock Hyrax – Procavia capensis).  The animal that looks like a lizard (15) is a small armoured land-dwelling crocodile called Protosuchus.

The original fossils of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals depicted in the poster are on display at institutions and museums around South Africa.

Dr. Jonah Choiniere (senior researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Witwatersrand University) stated:

“We think that this poster will show young learners…. ‘yes, South Africa does have dinosaurs’.  We hope that it will get them excited about studying the science behind South Africa’s incredible palaeosciences heritage.”

The poster is available for free and upon request to all visitors to the Origins Centre while stocks last and it will also be distributed to science centres, museums and visiting schools in the country.

To read an article all about the latest addition to the dinosaur dominated fauna of South Africa: South Africa’s “Highland Giant”

Everything Dinosaur would like to take this opportunity to thank those institutions involved with the commissioning of the poster, helping to inform and to educate people about life in the past.

“The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild”

New Blog Covering Science Topics

A new open encyclopaedia project has started that covers the sciences.  This new web blog that everyone can contribute to, covers subjects as diverse as biology, botany, geology, mineralogy palaeontology, cryptozoology and speculative evolution.  There is even room for xenobiology (the manipulation of biological processes) and astrobiology (naturally evolved life in the universe) on this new site run by enthusiast Destin Bogart and his colleagues.

Providing a Platform for Informed Discussion

Main logo of The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild

Main logo of The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild

Picture Credit: Destin Bogart

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild looks at the living world (real and imagined) and aims to provide a forum for like-minded individuals to express their views, publish articles and add to the discussion.  Findings and hypotheses most welcome!

A Wide Range of Topics Covered

For the uninitiated, Destin provides a handy, brief explanation of the topic areas the blog intends to cover.  Biology is the study of living things, botany is the study of plant life, whereas zoologists study animals.  Geology covers the Earth and its processes, mineralogy is the study of crystals and minerals and readers of the Everything Dinosaur blog should need no introduction to palaeontology.  At the Guild, the administrator wishes to encourage discussion on cryptids (unknown organisms), so cryptozoologists would concern themselves with beasts of myth or legend, the Yeti, or Scotland’s Loch Ness monster for example.

In Search of the Loch Ness Monster et al

An Illustration of a Plesiosaurus.

An Illustration of a Plesiosaurus.

Astrobiology, xenobiology, and speculative evolution allow enthusiasts to gain a better understanding the mechanisms of natural selection and evolution as well as providing an entertaining look into what could share this universe with the 8.2 million species or so to be found on our own planet.

Commenting on the inclusion of some of the more “obscure” disciplines within this blogsphere, one of the administrators stated:

“Astrobiology is the search for extraterrestrial life, xenobiology is the study of extraterrestrial organisms, and speculative evolution basically takes an event, or situation in which evolution could take a different path.  This blog will focus mainly on the solid sciences and will occasionally delve into these fictitious sciences to prove, disprove, and approve.”

The team at the Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild will strive to publish only the most accurate and scientifically acceptable information and speculations. Over the time span of this project, readers will learn through videos, presentations, talk-seminars, and info-videos about the Earth, its composition, the life that lived and still lives on it and speculate on the future of our planet and other life carrying bodies in the universe.

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild line up includes Brandon Ahrens, Sergio Treviso, Molly Essenburg, Destin Bogart and David Lichliter and this experienced team aims to bring to its readership the very latest developments in scientific literature, providing informed comment but retaining a light touch with a focus on entertaining as well as enlightening.

Publishing Plans

Plans include publishing new articles every week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), authors, academics and science writers are invited to contribute to what is described as an “experience-heavy project”.

Discussing the need to attract more high calibre writers, Destin Bogart explained:

“We are a small group and we need more members!  Scientists and scientifically minded people are invited to submit their contributions and we are also looking for candidates with a gift for narration, to provide the voice overs for our planned video series.”

To contact the organisers of the Guild: Contact the Guild

The team intend to base each article on a specific organism, examining how it lives, its biology and so forth.  Looking into the future (something we at Everything Dinosaur would expect astrobiologists to be very accomplished at), the Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild intend to create a series of encyclopaedias that contain all the articles published.  These encyclopaedias will, at first, probably be made available via a digital download and they will include a directory of the contributors (profiles, avatars and a short biography).

Aiming to Make a Big Impact

The end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

Aiming to make a big impact.

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild welcomes new scribes and anyone wishing to participate in this exciting project that has all ready established a Tumblr account as well as a blog and web platform.  Soon a dedicated YouTube channel will be added.

Explore The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild website: Website

Find The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild on Tumblr: Tumblr Account

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild Blogsite: The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild Blog

Warrington’s Wonderful Dinosaurs

A Morning with Year 1 and Reception (Winwick CE Primary)

October was a very busy month for the dinosaur experts at Everything Dinosaur with lots of school visits to squeeze in amongst all the other prehistoric animal projects that we were involved with.  On a Wednesday, towards the end of the month we delivered a dinosaur workshop to Reception and Year 1 pupils at Winwick CE Primary School (Warrington, Cheshire) and what a fun and fact filled morning it was.  The emphasis was on exploring dinosaurs and fossils so that the term topic could link into key areas of the national curriculum related to numeracy and literacy.  Lots of extension ideas and activities followed on from our visit, for example, we set the Year 1 children one of our special “pinkie palaeontologist challenges” – could they compose a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur?

A Set of Wonderful Dinosaur Thank You Letters from Year 1

Year 1 write thank you letters.

Year 1 write thank you letters.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Sure enough, we received an envelope from the school, sent into us by the class teacher (Mrs Common) and inside we found a lovely set of thank you letters from the children.  Our dinosaur expert had asked the children to make sure they got their words onto the lines correctly, that they used capital letters and full stops.  In addition,  we wanted to see some wonderful spelling.

Amelia Says Thank You to Everything Dinosaur

Amelia says thank you.

Amelia says thank you.

Picture Credit: Winwick CE Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

What super writing Amelia, well done you!

Year One Class Send in Thank You Letters After Dinosaur Workshop

A thank you letter from Ethan.  Well done!

A thank you letter from Ethan. Well done!

Picture Credit: Winwick CE Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

We enjoyed reading through the letters and we loved looking at the wonderful prehistoric animals that the children had drawn, especially the Ammonites!

To discover more about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Dinosaurs for Schools

Commenting on the busy morning, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We had a fantastic time working with the children.  Special thanks to Mrs Dudley, Mrs Hansley, Miss Abu and Mr Bate for their help and assistance on the day.  A big Iguanodon thumbs up to Mrs Cameron who even offered us some toast at break-time.”

It sounds like Everything Dinosaur were very well looked after at the school.  Dinosaurs as a term topic provides so many opportunities for children to gain confidence with their writing, develop their vocabularies and to practice simple addition and subtraction.  A big thank you to all the children who sent in letters to us, this is greatly appreciated.

Why Would a Dinosaur Not Make a Good Pet?

Year 2 at Bishop King CE Primary School Study Dinosaurs

As part of the extension activities suggested by Dinosaur Mike of Everything Dinosaur during his visit to Bishop King CE Primary School (Lincoln, England), to work with Key Stage 1, the children in Year 2 were challenged to have a go at designing their very own dinosaur.  Having met Tyler and explained that in the past a huge marine reptile roamed the seas of what was to become the United States of America, one of the company’s “pinkie palaeontologist challenges” was set.  Could the pupils come up with their very own prehistoric animal?

A Wonderful Oliversaurus from Oliver

Oliver designs a dinosaur.

Oliver designs a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Bishop King CE Primary School

The children took to their task with gusto.  We challenged the class to think carefully about their dinosaur, what colour would it be?  Would it have a long neck or a short neck, a big body or a little body?  We wanted to see lots of lovely labels including pointing out where the dinosaur’s skull was, a word we introduced to the classes during our fossil handling activities.

A Big Green Dinosaur with Navy Blue Spikes on His Back

A big green dinosaur.

A big green dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Bishop King CE Primary School

The term topic for the two classes of Year 2 children this autumn has a science focus.  The aim is to decide whether or not a dinosaur would make a good pet.  This subject area acts as an umbrella topic, linking in with exploration of food chains, habitats and life cycles as well as learning about different parts of the body.  This particular extension exercise dovetails nicely into art as well as supporting literacy, vocabulary development and handwriting skills.

Excellent Labelling Just Like a Scientist

A very colourful dinosaur design.

A very colourful dinosaur design.

Picture Credit: Bishop King CE Primary School

When it comes to providing posters for conferences detailing research, it is important to provide accurate, well annotated diagrams.  This is a useful skill within palaeontology and it seems from these examples here that the pupils at Bishop King CE Primary have started to hone their science skills at an early age.

Commenting on the drawings, that were very kindly sent into Everything Dinosaur by class teacher Miss Knapp, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“A new dinosaur is named and described approximately every three weeks.  By the time the children break up for Christmas it is very likely that a further two dinosaurs will have been formally named and described.  Dinosaurs were a very diverse group of reptiles, over the 165 million years in which dinosaurs existed they evolved into all sorts of forms, as well as the giants such as Diplodocus and Tyrannosaurus rex, some dinosaurs could fly, others lived in trees whilst some types of dinosaurs excavated burrows.”

Our congratulations to the children in Year 2, they have come up with some beautiful and very colourful dinosaurs and Everything Dinosaur team members were most impressed with all the clear labelling.  We hope our dinosaur workshop went some way to help the children to answer the question why would a dinosaur not make a good pet?

Unmistakably Ella The Dinosaur Fan

Ella’s Thank You Letter to Everything Dinosaur

Whilst going through some correspondence in the Everything Dinosaur office today, we came across a letter that we had received from a young dinosaur fan at Southglade Primary in Nottinghamshire (England).  The letter had been replied to and indeed Everything Dinosaur team members posted up a blog article all about the dinosaur workshop that we had conducted with the Year 3 class,  but this one particular letter had been put aside from all the others.

We had been discussing how lead authors and co-authors are cited in academic texts.   A colleague had remembered a thank you letter written by a enthusiastic dinosaur fan Ella, from the way that Ella had written her letter, it was clear who had been the author.

Ella’s Thank You Letter to Everything Dinosaur

Ella was definitely the author of this letter!

Ella was definitely the author of this letter!

Picture Credit: Ella (definitely the lead author)

We could not mistake Ella as the writer of this letter.  When Everything Dinosaur conducts a dinosaurs and fossil workshop with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children we encourage the teaching team to have the class compose thank you letters to us.  Very often, it can be a challenge for the teaching team to get pupils to practice their hand-writing and the composing of a thank you letter after a dinosaur workshop provides a wonderful excuse to put pen to paper.

To learn more about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and to contact the company: Contact Everything Dinosaur to Request Information about Dinosaur Workshops in School

Our team members provide a huge variety of extension ideas and activities, all linked to key components of the national curriculum.  For example, when working with Year 3 children exploring rocks and fossils, we build in links to the maths and literacy elements as well as introducing the concepts of scientific working and geological time.

We received a big pile of letters from Ella and her class mates, the children commented:

“Thank you for coming to our school and teaching us about dinosaurs”.

“I loved the part when I could hold the biggest jaw.”

“My best and favourite part was when you opened the big box.”

“Thank you for letting me hold the fossils.”

“I really liked all the dinosaur facts.”

You are most welcome, we are glad that Year 3 got so much out of our visit.  Some of the letters that we received even contained pictures of prehistoric animals.  One of the extinct creatures that was featured in the children’s illustrations was Tylosaurus.  We think this was because in the class there is a little boy called Tyler and we explained to him and his classmates all about this Late Cretaceous marine reptile.

To read the earlier blog article about Everything Dinosaur’s visit to Southglade Primary: Thank You Letters Received from Year Three

If the letters received by Everything Dinosaur are anything to go by then dinosaur workshops in school for Year 3 are a big success.

New 2016 Prehistoric Animal Models from Safari Ltd

New Prehistoric Animal Models (Safari Ltd) 2016

With the news that Safari Ltd had ended its twenty-eight year partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which broke in the spring, model collectors and dinosaur fans alike have been eagerly awaiting developments.  What prehistoric animal replicas would come out in 2016?  Everything Dinosaur can now reveal that information, the wait is over and enthusiasts of all things Dinosauria et al are not going to be disappointed.

Here are the new prehistoric animals:

  • Plesiosuchus
  • Iguanodon
  • Masiakasaurus
  • Shunosaurus
  • Carcharodontosaurus
  • Plus re-issues of previous Safari Ltd models, the baby Woolly Mammoth, the Megatherium (giant ground sloth), Amebelodon and the glyptodont Doedicurus.

Everything Dinosaur intends to stock all these items, we will do all we can to keep our customers and fellow prehistoric animal fans informed about deliveries into our warehouse.

There are a total of five new replicas, this is the same total as last year, the 1:10 scale Carnegie Collectibles Velociraptor, plus four not to scale models under the Wild Safari brand that has now become the flagship brand for prehistoric animal replicas the Florida-based company makes.

Let’s take a look at the new models in turn, firstly the Plesiosuchus model (marine crocodile).  This Late Jurassic carnivore was one of the super predators of the shallow seas that covered much of Europe.  It is estimated to have been around seven metres in length, approximately the size of the largest Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) found today.  Plesiosuchus means “near crocodile” and is pronounced Plee-see-oh-sook-us.  It was a member of the Metriorhynchoidea (pronounced Met-ri-oh-rink-oi-deer [A super family of the Crocodylomorpha]).  It is great to see a model of a metriorhynchid from Safari Ltd.

New for 2016 the Wild Safari Dinos Plesiosuchus

Available soon from Everything Dinosaur.

Available soon from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The Plesiosuchus replica measures a fraction over seventeen centimetres and is around four and half centimetres tall (it’s the tail).

Now the Iguanodon model comes into focus.  It is great to see another Ornithopod in the Safari Ltd Prehistoric Life model collection.

New for 2016 the Wild Safari Dinos Iguanodon

Some very striking colours on this new replica.

Some very striking colours on this new replica.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

Over the years, there have been a number of iguanodont models made, with the retirement of the Carnegie Collectibles Iguanodon replica, it is great to see this introduction.  Iguanodon is brought bang up to date, the bipedal pose of the earlier model, launched in 2007 and effectively a re-paint of an even earlier Carnegie replica, has been replaced by a walking on all four limbs approach.  The body proportions seem much more accurate and we love the thickened base of the tail.  These Ornithopods were powerful animals and indeed the base of the tail and pelvis were very robust.  The model has been given a striped colour scheme and we adore the flashes of purple, not a colour associated very often with dinosaur models.  It is a nice touch.  The model measures 18.5 cm by 7 cm.

New for 2016 – Shunosaurus

Available soon from Everything Dinosaur - Shunosaurus.

Available soon from Everything Dinosaur – Shunosaurus.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The “Sauropod crossed with a Llama”, as an Everything Dinosaur member of staff termed this replica when trying to decipher the double page advert that showed a glimpse of this figure, turns out to be a Shunosaurus.  The colourful figure measures 16.5 cm in length and that detailed head stands around 7 cm high.  One of the best known of all the Chinese Dinosauria, certainly the best known Sauropod, thanks to the huge fossil assemblage excavated from the Dashanpu Quarry site (Sichuan Province).  This looks like an excellent interpretation of the extensive fossil material.  Well done Safari Ltd for bringing out such an interesting replica.

“Vicious Lizard” – Masiakasaurus

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

A new fact sheet will be required for the fourth new prehistoric animal figure we are featuring here – Masiakasaurus, (the name means vicious lizard).  An agile Theropod that lived on the island of Madagascar in the Late Cretaceous.  The forward pointing teeth have been very well depicted in this new for 2016 replica.  We suspect that this is the first dinosaur model made by Safari Ltd, whose scientific name was inspired by a band member of Dire Straits.  The formal, binomial name for this two metre long terror is Masiakasaurus knopfleri.  It was the music of Dire Straits’s front man Mark Knopfler that inspired the field team behind this particular dinosaur fossil discovery.

The design team at Safari Ltd have taken into careful consideration details of this dinosaur’s known skeleton (about two-thirds of all the bones in the skeleton have been described to date).  Note the position of the hands and digits, although an abelisaurid, Masiakasaurus had proportionately much longer front limbs than other members of this Theropod dinosaur family.  It is an attractively painted model, the stripes and green markings are a good choice, it is likely that this dinosaur, required camouflage to help it avoid being spotted by larger meat-eaters that shared its floodplain environment.

The new Safari Ltd Masiakasaurus is around 18.5 cm in length and stands an impressive 8.25 cm tall.

New for 2016 – Carcharodontosaurus

Say hello to "shark-toothed lizard".

Say hello to “shark-toothed lizard”.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

One of the largest Theropods known, Carcharodontosaurus is a firm favourite amongst dinosaur fans and model collectors alike.  It is great to see this interpretation by Safari Ltd.  We had thought that the large, meat-eating dinosaur was going to be a Megalosaur, we got wrong but we are delighted to see this North African monster join the Safari Ltd “Prehistoric Life” fold.  At an impressive 22.75 cm long and standing 10.25 cm tall this is the biggest model dinosaur that Safari Ltd are bringing out next year.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing range of prehistoric animals from Safari Ltd: Safari Ltd Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

Look out for announcements on Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and on this blog site.  More information including when they will be in stock will be posted up soon.

Check out Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page for pics of the prehistoric mammal models that are being re-introduced by Safari Ltd.

Find Everything Dinosaur on Facebook: Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

Volunteers Needed to Explore the Triassic

Volunteers Needed to Explore the Triassic

Yesterday, may have been “Back to the Future Day”, but here at Everything Dinosaur the emphasis is very much on the past, approximately 220 million years in the past, the Norian faunal stage of the Triassic to be precise.  We have been contacted by a student at Huddersfield University (England), who has asked for volunteers to help test a prehistoric virtual environment set at this pivotal time in vertebrate evolution.

Please Note – the request for volunteers has ended – no further volunteers required.

An Opportunity to Explore “Triassic World”

Which part of Pangea would you like to explore?

Which part of Pangaea would you like to explore?

Picture Credit: Daniel Carter

Time Travellers Needed

Student, Daniel Carter has been building a computer simulation that enables players to explore a series of Triassic environments set during the Norian faunal stage of the first geological period of the Mesozoic. Daniel has already benefited from the advice of Everything Dinosaur’s experts as he seeks to perfect the various habitats and make the flora and fauna as accurate as possible.  The objective of this educational game is for players to discover and learn about prehistoric animals and plants from this critical point in our planet’s history.

Players Can Explore a Variety of Triassic Ecosystems

The prehistoric environments are based on Late Triassic Lagerstätten.

The prehistoric environments are based on the Late Triassic .

Picture Credit: Daniel Carter

Daniel has carefully constructed three environments, all based on famous Lagerstätten. If you have ever felt the urge to get up close to the fauna represented by the famous Ghost Ranch sediments of New Mexico, now’s your chance.

The focus is very much on education.  When an explorer encounters a creature they can interact with it and discover more about it by accessing data files.  So if you come across a Coelophysis you can learn all about this Late Triassic dinosaur.  An inventory will be available to let players know what species they are looking for and gamers will be given clues which could lead to the location of the specific creatures.   You might even get the chance to encounter an ancestor of modern mammals.   Could you track them down?

Explorers Can Learn About the Animals and Plants They Encounter

Educational fact files are incorporated into the play.

Educational fact files are incorporated into the play.

Picture Credit: Daniel Carter

Part of a Masters Degree Project

Daniel, the creator of this virtual Triassic world disclosed that his intention is to inform and help educate and he needs dinosaur and fossil enthusiasts to help him perfect his prehistoric project.

Daniel explained:

“The game will feature an encyclopaedia which will list all the plants and animals in the game with a brief description, as well as some extra entries.  Each area will be fairly large in size and will include a number of different things for players to discover and explore.”

Fancy a Stroll Through a Triassic Forest?

Gamers will be able to explore a number of terrestrial environments.

Gamers will be able to explore a number of terrestrial environments.

Picture Credit: Daniel Carter

How You Can Help

Daniel needs volunteers to test the game for bugs and glitches.  He would welcome feedback and advice on the overall gaming experience.  Can you suggest additional plants and animals that should be included?

To help, email Everything Dinosaur and we will pass this information on to Daniel: Contact Everything Dinosaur – put the words Triassic World at the front of your email.

In order to help Daniel, we have suggested that interested parties should get in touch with Daniel by the 12th November 2015 (that’s three weeks).

To see one of the early fly through videos, showcasing Daniel’s creative talent: Triassic Oasis Fly Through

Meet the Inhabitants of Triassic World

Encounter giant amphibians in the Triassic landscape.

Encounter giant amphibians in the Triassic landscape.

Picture Credit: Daniel Carter

Please Note – the request for volunteers has ended – no further volunteers required.

The game has been created using the Unreal 4 game engine and Daniel would like to see his game used in schools and museums to help teach children about prehistoric life.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The Norian Age represents a real melting pot of vertebrate evolution.  The dinosaurs were diversifying and becoming more abundant but they shared the single landmass of Pangaea with a whole range of strange creatures.  Pterosaurs chased insects in the air, crocodile-like Phytosaurs hunted in the rivers and giant amphibians, relics from the Palaeozoic, could still be found.”  We congratulate Daniel for his hard work and we look forward to seeing the game once it has been completed.”

If you want to help build a Triassic exploration game, here’s that email again: Contact Everything Dinosaur  don’t forget to put the words Triassic World at the front of your email.

Don’t forget the 12th November deadline.

Have fun exploring!

Please Note – the request for volunteers has ended – no further volunteers required.


After a very successful testing programme, Daniel wrote to Everything Dinosaur saying:

“I would just like to say thanks for going out of your way to help me with my project.  The blog post got my game quite a bit of attention, and the testers I had were very helpful.  Thanks to this my game has changed for the better, working upon the feedback and suggestions provided by the testers.”

Dinosaurs at St Paul’s Primary School

Year 1 Study Dinosaurs

Today, one of Everything Dinosaur’s fossil experts visited St Paul’s R.C. Primary school to help Year 1 with their term topic which is all about fossils and dinosaurs.  Under the expert tutelage of the class teacher (Miss Holdsworth) and with the support of the enthusiastic teaching assistant Mrs Sharpling, the children have been busy learning about prehistoric animals and famous people from history such as Mary Anning.

Outside the classroom, the Year 1 children had helped create a very colourful dinosaur inspired wall display.  Our dinosaur expert certainly felt at home when he saw the wonderful artwork.

Prehistoric Animal Themed Scenes Outside the Year 1 Classroom

A wonderful dinosaur wall display.

A wonderful dinosaur wall display.

Picture Credit: St Paul’s Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex (meat-eaters), feature on the wall display, along with a flying reptile and two dinosaurs that ate plants (Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus).  During the morning, we explored dinosaurs that ate meat and learnt about some plant-eating dinosaurs as well.  The fierce monster bursting out of the wall in the picture above is most impressive.  A fantastic red tongue can be seen in the photograph and our dinosaur expert explained to the children just how long the tongues of some dinosaurs could be.

In the Year 1 classroom, the children had a role play area in which to store their dinosaurs.  The role play table was just at the right height for the children, thanks to the excellent woodworking skills of Miss Holdsworth.  If Everything Dinosaur ever need some scaffolding put up around one of our mounted dinosaur skeletons, we now know who to call.

A Role Play Area – Great for Creative, Imaginative Play

A role play table for Year 1.

A role play table for Year 1.

Picture Credit: St Paul’s Primary/Everything Dinosaur

 The walls of the well organised classroom were covered in examples of the children’s work.  A space had been set aside on one of the walls for some dinosaur bone art that had been planned for later on in the term topic.  Another wall displayed the results of a writing exercise in which the Year 1 children had written about what they would do if they were a dinosaur.  When working with Lower Key Stage 1 children in the autumn term the focus is on getting the children to feel more confident with their writing.  The exercise helped the children with the spacing of words and the use of grammar such as the full stop and comma.  The “pinkie palaeontologist challenge” we set the class which involved composing a short story about a Triceratops coming to lunch at the school should also assist the budding young scribes.

Examples of Individual Work Posted on the Classroom Wall

Work to "bee" proud of.

Work to “bee” proud of.

Picture Credit: St Paul’s Primary/Everything Dinosaur

The picture above show a dinosaur themed writing display which the children can certainly be proud of.

After the morning dinosaur themed workshop had been concluded, Mrs Sharpling led the class in a singing of “Yellow Bird”, this was very appropriate as during the teaching session our dinosaur expert had informed the children that many dinosaurs might have been covered in feathers, even bright yellow ones.

Thank You Letters from Year 3

Dinosaur Workshop Helps Handwriting

Children in Year 3 at Southglade School (Nottinghamshire) got to grips with dinosaurs and fossils as part of their science term topic which focused on prehistoric life.  A fossil expert from Everything Dinosaur was dispatched and he spent a morning with the Year 3 classes helping them to explore life in the past.  One of the key aims of the teaching scheme of work was to help the children develop a better understanding of how fossils form and which rocks are likely to contain fossils.  The Everything Dinosaur member of staff was able to explain to the children using lots of examples in a session that was orientated towards kinaesthetic learning.

Dinosaurs in Schools

Dinosaurs in school.

Dinosaurs in school.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To learn more about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Dinosaur Workshops in Schools

Our dinosaur expert had been briefed about one of the teaching objectives required.  The teacher wanted to help motivate the children with their writing, particularly composition. The boys had become less than enthusiastic when it came to writing and sentence construction, although they were very enthusiastic about the dinosaur themed science topic.  During the session the children were set a number of “pinkie palaeontologist challenges” all geared of course, to helping the children with their literacy and writing.

One of the extension activities proposed was for the children to compose a thank you letter to their visitor from Everything Dinosaur, our expert challenged them to write a thank you letter which contained a statement (what they liked best about the dinosaur workshop) and to use proper punctuation.

The children responded eagerly to the challenge and the teaching assistant reported back that the children could not wait to start their letters.  We received some excellent examples, these were posted to the Everything Dinosaur offices, we did respond to all those that required a reply.

Year 3 Children Send in Thank you Letters to Everything Dinosaur

Children compose thank you letters after dinosaur workshop.

Children compose thank you letters after dinosaur workshop.

Picture Credit: Southglade School/Everything Dinosaur

 Commenting on the letters received a spokesperson for the teaching team at Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We do appreciate how difficult it can be sometimes to motivate children in Lower Key Stage 2 with writing tasks.   However, after our workshop it was wonderful to see how enthusiastically the children responded to our challenge and our team members read every single one of the thank you letters we received.”

A teacher responsible for one of the classes praised Everything Dinosaur and stated:

“Everything Dinosaur delivered a fantastic morning.  Correspondence prior to the session was excellent and we were sent a very detailed lesson plan.  The sessions were pitched at the right level for the classes and we received lots of ideas for extension activities, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience.  Thank you very much.”

It looks like dinosaurs have proved to be a “roaring” success in Nottinghamshire.

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