Category: Teaching

Feedback from Foundation Class

Five Stars for Everything Dinosaur (sort of)

At Everything Dinosaur we encourage teachers to provide our team members with feedback over our visits to schools to teach about dinosaurs.  We conduct dinosaur and fossil workshops from children within the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stages) right up to students at Key Stage 4.  We are keen to develop our work in schools and museums and we are very grateful for all the feedback that we receive.  Whilst it would be great if teachers could leave feedback and comments on our dedicated teaching website, we do have a section dedicated to this, we do appreciate that sometimes teaching professionals find themselves so busy that this is not always possible.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s dedicated teaching website: Dinosaurs and Fossils Teaching Website

To help overcome this we always carry feedback forms with us when we visit schools, colleges and other institutions.  Being able to provide instant feedback is a great benefit to the teachers, teaching assistants and learning support team members that we work with.

Following our visit to Kensington Primary School to work with Foundation Stage children, we got lots of very positive feedback from the teaching team.  This feedback has already been posted up on our dedicated teaching website, but we thought it would be helpful if we posted up one of the forms from a class teacher here.

Foundation Stage Teacher Praises Everything Dinosaur

5 Stars for Everything Dinosaur.

5 Stars for Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Kensington Primary School

 We note that our “star rating” system was perhaps a little confusing but the comments are greatly appreciated.

The Foundation Stage teacher commented:

“Excellent resources and modelling of different vocabulary, especially focusing on opposites eg. hard/soft.  Children remained engaged throughout and loved touching the objects.  They were the focus of a lot of discussion throughout the rest of the day.”

Our dinosaur expert talked through a couple of extension activities with the teaching team and we look forward to hearing how the term topic develops.

Year 1 Explore Dinosaurs

Exploring Dinosaurs and Learning How to Eat Like a Diplodocus

Another busy day yesterday for Everything Dinosaur with a visit to Altrincham Preparatory School to work with Year 1.  The children, under the enthusiastic tutelage of their teachers Mrs Bacon and Mrs Eyley had been studying dinosaurs and fossils and a visit from our dinosaur expert helped to reinforce learning.  One of the pupils in the class heralds from Canada, so it was apt to explore the rib bones of an Edmontosaurus (named after the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta).  One of the children in 1E was born in Argentina, so we promised to send out some information on Argentinosaurus, a huge Titanosaur, as part of the extension resources.

The children had been busy writing about Diplodocus and our expert was able to see some of the excellent examples of hand-writing, vocabulary use and sentence construction that was on display.

Year 1 Pupils Write About Diplodocus

A "What I am" writing exercise with Diplodocus.

A “what I am?” writing exercise with Diplodocus.

Picture Credit: Altrincham Preparatory School/Everything Dinosaur

As part of the experiments we conducted, we showed how Sauropod dinosaurs like Diplodocus fed and then we looked at some fossilised plants and compared them to living ferns.

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s school visit: Dinosaurs Prove to be a Roaring Success for Year 1

There was also some wonderful artwork on display in the classrooms of 1B and 1E, the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge and one young dinosaur fan even brought in a model of a Baryonyx.

Piecing Together a Carnivorous Dinosaur

Meat-eating dinosaurs inspire artwork.

Meat-eating dinosaurs inspire artwork.

Picture Credit: Altrincham Preparatory School/Everything Dinosaur

The children and the teaching team really enjoyed the morning and it was great to see so many dinosaur themed examples of work posted up around the classrooms.  We even met one little boy called Owen, so we sent over some information on the anatomist Sir Richard Owen who was responsible for naming the group of animals we know as the Dinosauria.

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

Feedback after Working with EYFS (Reception)

A Tactile Dinosaur Themed Session Helping to Develop Vocabulary

Everything Dinosaur’s team members are busy with the teaching and other outreach commitments as the autumn term progresses.  Yesterday, Everything Dinosaur was working with a primary school in Merseyside, the aim being to help with the term topic (dinosaurs) by providing an interactive and tactile dinosaur and fossil themed workshop.

Could we answer the question of the day – Were some dinosaurs huge?

One of the objectives that was set in the short briefing with the teaching team prior to the first session was to focus on helping to develop vocabulary and to give the children the opportunity to develop a wider range of describing words.

Feedback form from Reception Teacher

Feedback from Primary School (EYFS).

Feedback from Primary School (EYFS).

Working with children, some of whom do not have English as a first language and who have only just started school, can be quite a challenge.  However, guided by their enthusiastic teachers the children had been undertaking all sorts of exciting exercises and activities to do with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.  It seems from the feedback received that Everything Dinosaur had indeed, achieved the learning objectives.

We suggested a couple of extension activities as a follow up to some of the work undertaken in the actual dinosaur themed workshop and we look forward to hearing how the children fared as they explore all things dinosaur!

To learn more about Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur themed workshops for reception classes: Teaching about dinosaurs in schools

Key Stage 1 Pupils Learn about Dinosaurs and Fossils

Primary School Pupils Explore the Dinosauria

Another busy day for Everything Dinosaur team members with a primary school visit.  Children at St. Joseph and St. Bede R. C. Primary had a great time exploring fossils and learning all animals and plants that lived in the past.  As part of our teaching work we looked at the work of a palaeontologist, examined the differences and the similarities between plants today and those preserved as fossils.  The pupils looked at plant-eaters and meat-eaters, well done to Tilly for knowing what a herbivore ate.

Our team member even met a student called Maia and we explained all about the dinosaur called Maiasaura (Good Mother Lizard).

To read more about the dinosaur called Maiasaura: Maiasaura – Mothers Day and Marsh

 The Teaching Team Prepared A Slide Show of the Activities

Slideshow credit: St. Joseph and St. Bede Primary School

 We did have some dinosaur eggs, but we are not sure where they have gone.  Could we have left them at the school?

Lots of extension activities have come out of the visit, we look forward to hearing more about how the school children have been learning to work scientifically.

For more information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Everything Dinosaur’s Work in Schools

School Site Updates

Everything Dinosaur’s School Site Updates

Busy days at Everything Dinosaur, not only are team members starting the first of the autumn term’s teaching assignments this morning, but there are further updates being added to the company’s bespoke teaching website.  Everything Dinosaur provides a lot of educational resources and support to schools, home educators, teaching assistants and museums.  The teaching website was set up so as to provide a dedicated support site about dinosaurs and fossils to assist those involved in education.

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Amongst the free downloads, teaching plans, schemes of work and other resources, Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy writing bespoke articles about how dinosaurs and fossils can help in education on the site’s teaching blog.  Trouble is, we have hundreds of articles and even more ideas for new articles so this task is monumental.  Still we shall persevere and new articles are being posted up all the time.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s dedicated teaching site: Dinosaur and Fossil Themed Resources for Schools

Everything Dinosaur’s New School Site Goes from Strength to Strength

Teachers Getting Access to Free Downloads

The new school website from Everything Dinosaur has only been “live” for a little over a week but already teachers and learning support providers from as far away as Australia and California have been taking the opportunity to download the free teaching resources.  With the new curriculum being rolled out in England, there is a strong emphasis on “working scientifically” and our trained teachers and academics have been enthusiastically offering support and teaching advice.

New Schools and Educational Website From Everything Dinosaur

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the science curriculum, rocks and fossils are an integral part of Key Stage 2 and dinosaurs make a fantastic term topic subject for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Reception.  Everything Dinosaur’s school visits start in earnest next week, but our teaching team hope to post up some more, free dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources before the teaching schedule and dinosaur workshops get into full swing.

A spokes person for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We have been very pleased with the take up, lots and lots of free dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources have already been downloaded by teachers, teaching assistants and home educators.”

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s teaching website, a website aimed at helping teachers and other educationalists with the delivery of Earth science based teaching schemes and lesson plans: Everything Dinosaur School Site

New School Curriculum With Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs

New Curriculum – New Challenges For Teaching Teams

This week sees the introduction of the new national curriculum for school children in England.  A more “rigorous” curriculum with English, Mathematics and Science as core subjects with pupils at Key Stage 1 (five to seven years old) being introduced to simple fractions and even computer programming.  The aim of this new curriculum which is being rolled out across all state-funded primary and secondary schools, is to improve standards.  However, academies, which now form the majority of secondary schools, will not be required to follow the new curriculum.  State funded schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are managed differently but current policies and practices are being reviewed in many parts of the British Isles.

Why the Changes?

The Department for Education, responsible for children’s’ services and education in England, cites falling academic standards when students in England are compared to students from other countries, particular countries such as Singapore, South Korea and China.  From Everything Dinosaur’s perspective, our teaching work aims to help promote the concept of working scientifically and we deal with classes ranging from EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) right up to Key Stage 4 (students from fourteen to sixteen years).  A number of comparative studies have been undertaken and just like schools themselves, the results vary.  For example, back in 2012 Everything Dinosaur team members reported on the biannual comparative study carried out by researchers at Boston College (USA), which covers the results from two very important international teaching studies, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).  Broadly, the United Kingdom had shown good progress when it came to mathematics but standards seemed to be slipping when it came to the sciences.

Teaching about Dinosaurs and Fossils in School – Working Scientifically

Lots of facts about dinosaurs.

Lots of facts about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A topic all about dinosaurs, fossils and extinction helps to bring together core teaching subjects such as science, English and mathematics.

To read more about the study: Mixed Results for Science and Maths in English Schools

 Where does Everything Dinosaur Come In?

With the emphasis on scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding and learning about scientific methods, dinosaurs as a term topic or part of a special science themed teaching week is a great way to engage young minds at Key Stage 1 and earlier.  As children tend to have a fascination with prehistoric animals, our dinosaur workshops help to introduce and reinforce learning objectives as outlined by the new curriculum.  Lower Key Stage 2 have to learn about fossils, how they are formed and what they tell us about the once living things that they represent.   As one of our colleagues declared “Mary Anning is on the curriculum” – great to see a female role model in science.

Older students  in Key Stage 3 and heading up to Key Stage 4 are being given the opportunity to study genetics, evolution and the work of such notable scientists as Darwin and Wallace.

Teachers and their support providers have been working hard to get to grips with this new “rigorous” curriculum.  We are aware that some of the teaching resources related to dinosaurs and fossils used in the past are in some cases out of date, or worse still inaccurate. Everything Dinosaur offers lots of free, downloadable prehistoric animal themed teaching resources from its bespoke teaching website, as well as helpful articles, tips, advice and the opportunity to invite our dinosaur experts into school.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s teaching website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website For Schools

A Teaching Exercise – Our Hands versus the Hands of a Dinosaur

Examining Dinosaur Hands (Key Stage 2/3)

Examining Dinosaur Hands (Key Stage 2/3)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In terms of teaching resources, Everything Dinosaur team members have been advising learning support providers about all sorts of prehistoric animal related merchandise – from finger puppets to science kits.  All the resources we supply have been tested and reviewed by our own teaching team, there’s even free dinosaur fact sheets included as well.

Resources for schools: Teaching Resources for Schools

Here’s to that dedicated group of professionals who serve our school children so well and we wish all the students starting the new curriculum every success with their studies.

Palaeontologist versus Paleontologist

Palaeontologist v Paleontologist – What’s the Difference?

During our school visits to carry out dinosaur and fossil themed workshops we often get asked to help with various aspects of the teaching scheme of work.  Everything Dinosaur’s team members are happy to provide advice and to assist where they can.  We even send out lots of free teaching resources, lesson plans, activity ideas and learning aids related to fossils and prehistoric animals.  However, we do see a lot of other teaching resources, many of which have been downloaded from education company websites, that are inaccurate.  Some of these resources have cost money, thus depleting an already stretched teaching budget.  We try to do what we can to help out.

Everything Dinosaur Provides a Lot of Teaching Resources to Schools

So many events, so many activities, so many photographs.

So many events, so many activities, so many photographs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Today we will deal with a very simple point, the difference between “palaeontology” and “paleontology”.  We know that a number of the resources used by teachers and learning support providers (home educators too for that matter), are sourced from other countries, such as America.  Herein lies the confusion.   The word palaeontology is often seen in these resources (and elsewhere) with an “a” missing.  We have the term “palaeontologist” and also “paleontologist”.

So let’s start at the beginning – what is palaeontology or paleontology? 

Palaeontology or paleontology mean the same thing.  These words describe the branch of science that deals with the study of extinct animals and plants and their fossilised remains.  The word is derived from the Greek palaios which means “ancient”, a reference to prehistoric times.  Palaeontology (with an extra “a” added) is the term used in Britain and elsewhere in the world, whilst paleontology is the Americanised version of the word and it is customarily used in the USA.  Both words are interchangeable but most institutions tend to use one word rather than the other.  For example, Everything Dinosaur uses the term palaeontology, whilst the Chicago Field Museum (Illinois, USA) uses the word paleontology.  The dropping the “a” convention applies to all the sub-disciplines in this broad area of scientific study.

Common Terms in Palaeontology and Related Subjects

Palaeontology (UK) Paleontology (USA) - The study of extinct organisms and their fossils.
Palaeontologist (UK) Paleontologist (USA) - A person who studies extinct organisms and their fossils.
Vertebrate Palaeontologist (UK) Vertebrate Paleontologist (USA)  - The branch of palaeontology that studies animals with back bones.
Invertebrate Palaeontologist (UK) Invertebrate Paleontologist (USA) - The branch of palaeontology that studies animals without back bones.
Micropalaeontology (UK) Micropaleontology (USA) - The study of microscopic fossils (micro-fossils).
Palaeobotany (UK) Paleobotany (USA) - fossil plants; traditionally includes the study of fossil algae and fungi in addition to land plants.
Human Palaeontology (UK) Human Paleontology (USA) The study of prehistoric human and proto-human fossils.
Palaeoanthropology (UK) Paleoanthropology (USA) - As above (prehistoric human and proto-human fossils).
Palaeoecology (UK) Paleoecology (USA) - Ecology of extinct and prehistoric organisms.
Palaeoclimatology (UK) Paleoclimatology (USA) - The study of past climates.
Palaeogeography (UK) Paleogeography (USA) - Study of geographical features of the past.
Palaeomagnetism (UK) Paleomagnetism (USA) - Study of the magnetism remaining in rocks and related magnetic fields.

 Credit: Everything Dinosaur

So the terms palaeontology and paleontology are equally valid, but whilst working in schools and UK based museums we tend to use the terms with an extra “a”.

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

Everything Dinosaur’s New School Website Is Launched

Dinosaur Workshops In School

Everything Dinosaur’s new teaching themed website has been launched today.  This new site, aimed at helping teachers, learning support providers and home educators is packed full of dinosaur and fossil themed teaching ideas, blog articles, helpful hints and free downloads.

Dinosaurs for Schools

Everything Dinosaur aims to help teachers, museums and home educators.

Everything Dinosaur aims to help teachers, museums and home educators.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s educational site: Dinosaur Workshops and Teaching Resources

The new website has been designed to act as an educational resource to help teachers, teaching assistants and other member of the teaching profession to cover science subjects aimed at school children from the Early Years Foundation Stage right up to Key Stage 4 and beyond.  Home educators too, will find this new resource helpful.  Everything Dinosaur’s team of teaching professionals have worked over the last six months or so to provide reliable assistance with the challenges posed by the new curriculum.  The intention is to help learning support providers and teachers by permitting access to dinosaur, fossil and evolution teaching resources that have been checked over by dinosaur experts and fossil collectors, thus providing a reliable set of resources and guides to assist educators as they instil the skills needed to develop an interest in and perhaps a career in the sciences.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is all about getting students to develop scientific skills such as enquiry, investigation, observation and analysis.  For many teachers the challenge will be to help pupils to work scientifically, whilst for those teaching professionals working at EYFS and Key Stage 1 a dinosaur themed teaching topic is a great way to help engage the children.”

Why we Do What we Do

Everything Dinosaur Helps to Inform and Educate

It seems like a long time ago now, but when our happy band got together we set about creating a mission statement, a sort of who we are, what we do and why do we do it.  Other organisations had such things and we thought we ought to have one too.  As a teaching team, we wanted to help inform and educate and our mission statement for our work in schools reflects this.

Teaching Mission Statement

 ”Everything Dinosaur’s aim is to help motivate young people to learn more about Earth sciences by participating in hands-on, dinosaur themed teaching activities and dinosaur workshops.  Our mission is to engage and inspire the next generation of young scientists by having dinosaurs and fossils in school.”

Every day we receive letters, drawings, photographs, pictures all sorts of things from school children.  It is always a pleasure to see them.  We encourage creative writing as part of our work in schools and as a result we get lots of thank you letters, stories and fact sheets sent in.

 A Typical Letter Sent in by a Dinosaur Fan

Helping to encourage sentence construction and creative writing.

Helping to encourage sentence construction and creative writing.

Picture Credit Phoebe (Year 1)

We do our best to reply to all the questions we get asked and we try to make sure that everyone’s efforts are acknowledged.  We have young dinosaur fans all over the world, we get correspondence from Scandinavia, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Australia, just about every country you can think of.

Drawing of a Triceratops (M. V. Eashwar from India)

Super drawing of a Triceratops from M. V. Eashwar.

Super drawing of a Triceratops from M. V. Eashwar.

Picture Credit: M. V. Eashwar

In two weeks time the new school year starts and we can’t wait to meet all the enthusiastic palaeontologists during our many scheduled classroom visits to conduct dinosaur workshops.

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