Category: Teaching

Dinosaurs Roar with Jonah!

Jonah Class Explore Dinosaurs

It was a busy morning for the Reception class at Astbury St Mary’s Church of England Primary School.  Class Jonah have been learning all about dinosaurs and the enthusiastic teaching team had invited a member of the Everything Dinosaur staff into the school to explore dinosaurs and fossils.  The spacious hall was taken over and turned into a mini dinosaur museum and the budding young palaeontologists quickly learned that they had more fingers on their hands than a Tyrannosaurus rex.  Dinosaurs as a term topic was proving very popular amongst the children as they settled into full-time education, the girls were delighted to hear that a girl T. rex grew up to be bigger and stronger than a boy T. rex!  As far as we can tell, the female Tyrannosaurs were probably bigger than the males.

Lots of Creative Dinosaur Drawings on Display

FS2 children draw prehistoric landscapes.

Drawings of a prehistoric landscape by FS2 children.

Picture Credit: St Mary’s Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

The well-organised classroom already had lots of dinosaur themed drawings and models on display.  The children had made some pointy dinosaur teeth (probably a meat-eater) and the walls were decorated with some lovely prehistoric animal drawings.   The class teacher Miss Irwin, had challenged her class to imagine what a prehistoric landscape looked like, the children had certainly produced some very imaginative drawings.  The dinosaur food we brought with us helped support the children’s learning about herbivores and carnivores and we note that on the Jonah class blog there are some pictures of a dinosaur plant-eater/meat-eater sorting exercise that our expert suggested the children attempt to help reinforce their understanding about the diets of different dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Land with an Erupting Volcano

FS2 draw dinosaurs.

Reception draw a volcano.

Picture Credit: St Mary’s Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Did Dinosaurs Have Phones?

Prior to our visit, the children under the supervision of Miss Irwin and with the support of Mrs Ainscough, had come up with some super questions about dinosaurs that they would like to explore.  The eager learners busy practising their phonics and getting to grips with reading wanted to learn lots of amazing facts about life in the past.

Questions About Dinosaurs from Jonah Class

Questions about dinosaurs from Reception.

Dinosaur questions from FS2

Picture Credit: St Mary’s Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Sebastian asked why do dinosaurs have big teeth?  Toby enquired why dinosaurs have bones?  Brad questioned whether there were dinosaurs in the playground?  Some news for you Toby, perhaps some birds like Robins, Magpies and Blue Tits will visit your dinosaur museum outside.  Birds are so closely related to some types of dinosaur that, technically, birds are dinosaurs.  Jude asked did dinosaurs have phones?  That’s an interesting question!  With T. rex having such short arms and only two fingers on each hand, do the children think that this dinosaur could make a phone call?  If you happen to receive a text from a T. rex what would it say?

Did Dinosaurs Have Phones?

Did dinosaurs have phones?

Reception class consider whether dinosaurs had phones and how closely related birds are to dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Visits Howes Primary School

Dinosaurs “Get Sent to Coventry”

Tuesday was “dinosaur day” for the Key Stage 1 children at Howes Primary school with a visit from Everything Dinosaur to help support the term topic for Year 1 and Year 2 children.  This friendly and very welcoming school is located in Coventry (East Midlands), however, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather, Coventry felt more like Copacabana beach as noon temperatures touched thirty degrees Celsius.  Noel, the helpful Site Manager, had the forethought to open the windows in the spacious hall where we were working and despite the heat, the children learned that just like stones, most fossils feel cold when you first touch them.

The Children in Year 1 Gave our Dinosaur Expert some Wonderful Dinosaur Drawings

A horned dinosaur drawn by a child in Year 1.

A dinosaur drawing from Year 1.

Picture Credit: Howes Primary School (Year 1)

The children in Year 2 were joined by some of the budding palaeontologists from the Hearing Impaired Unit.  All the children enjoyed handling the various fossils and learning about the super power of a giant armoured dinosaur.

A Pink Long-Necked Dinosaur

A very pink dinosaur by Year 1.

A pink long-necked dinosaur drawing.

Picture Credit: Howes Primary School (Year 1)

The Year 1 and Year 2 teachers asked us to help them by providing information about carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.  A number of the children demonstrated considerable pre-knowledge regarding dinosaurs and the extension resources we brought with us should support the teaching team and their scheme of work.  On returning to the office, our team member who visited the school, prepared a couple of extra exercises aimed at supporting this section of the curriculum.  These resources and materials were emailed over to the teacher.  They also recommended a set of dinosaur skulls that featured omnivores, carnivores and herbivores along with other prehistoric animal themed teaching resources to help support learning.

A Set of Dinosaur Skulls – Helpful for Omnivore, Carnivore and Herbivore Sorting Games

Dinosaur fossil skull models, ideal for school.

A set of eleven dinosaur fossil skulls.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaur skulls and other useful Key Stage 1 teaching resources can be found here: Dinosaur models including sets of dinosaur skulls

After our busy morning exploring dinosaurs, the Year 1 teacher presented us with a selection of  colourful dinosaur drawings that her class had created.  We shall pin up these pictures onto our warehouse wall, they will cheer us up as we study fossils.

Colourful Prehistoric Animal Drawings from Year 1 at Howes Primary School (Coventry)

Year 1 draw colourful dinosaurs.

Wonderful dinosaur and fossil drawings from a Year 1 pupil.

Picture Credit: Howes Primary School (Year 1)

Our thanks to all the children in Year 1 and Year 2 at Howes Primary, we really appreciate the beautiful prehistoric animal drawings that you created and we are sure, that, thanks to the dedicated teaching team, all the children are really going to enjoy their dinosaur themed autumn term topic.

Emily’s Fossils

Year 3 at Yarnfield Primary Learning About “Footprints in the Past”

Yesterday, was another busy day with a visit to the vibrant Yarnfield Primary School to work with the three classes of Year 3 children as they began their term topic entitled “Footprints in the Past”.  The teaching team had developed an exciting and challenging scheme of work utilising a term topic all about dinosaurs and fossils to help 3Red, 3Yellow and 3Green classes study life in the past.  One of the spacious and well-organised classrooms had been designated to the member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching team to conduct the workshops,  he noted that a number of special areas had been allocated on the walls of the classroom on which the children could display their work.  There was even a large area dedicated to science related elements of the curriculum.

Naturally, there is a big focus on literacy and numeracy throughout the school.  Year 3 was no exception and prior to the workshops, our dinosaur expert talked through some extension ideas with the enthusiastic teaching team.  A dinosaur footprint measuring exercise certainly ticked all the right boxes when it came to supporting numeracy and the “dinosaur foot facts” writing activity was well received.

Emily had brought in a collection fossils that her father had found.  She had carefully wrapped them in tissue paper and stored them in a sturdy plastic box to keep them safe.  Could the children work out why you have to wear special, soft gloves when you handle some fossils?

A Picture of the Fossils Emily had Brought into School

Fossils brought into school.

Fossils brought into school by a Year 3 pupil.

Picture Credit: Yarnfield Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Our fossil expert was able to identify the fossils and explain that they came from a beach, the remains of the coiled shells of ammonites and other fossil fragments have been preserved in the rocks.

Can You Spot the Fossil?

An ammonite fossil.

A close up of the fossil (ammonite).

Picture Credit: Yarnfield Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

An idea might be for the children to set up their own dinosaur and fossil museum in the classroom so that they can display their work and exhibit some of their discoveries.  During the workshops, Year 3 learned about Mary Anning, a Georgian fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who was to become famous for her fossil discoveries from the cliffs at Lyme Regis (Dorset).  Mary’s discoveries include the first Ichthyosaur fossil to be scientifically described along with Plesiosaurs, ancient fish and the first flying reptile fossil to be found in England.  Although her finds made her quite well known and a number of leading scientists used Mary’s work and her knowledge to further their own careers, she never gained the public recognition her contribution to science merited.  Good luck to all the pupils who attempt the “sea shells” tongue twister inspired by Mary Anning  that we provided.

Mary Anning 1799 – 1847

Mary Anning

The most famous former resident of Lyme Regis

The picture above shows a portrait of May Anning and her dog Tray, that often accompanied Mary on her fossil finding trips.  Perhaps Emily’s fossils will inspire the children at Yarnfield Primary School to become famous fossil collectors just like Mary Anning.

Remembering the Thylacine – Threatened Species Day

Remembering the Thylacine

On this day, eighty years ago, the last known Thylacine died at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart.  It was on the 7th of September 1936, that staff at the Tasmanian zoo discovered “Benjamin”, as the animal was believed to have been named, dead.  Sadly, just two months earlier, the species Thylacinus cynocephalus had been granted protected status, after more than a hundred years of persecution.  Today, we live in what is regarded as more enlightened times, and September 7th in Australia is “National Threatened Species Day”, a day dedicated to honouring those people who work to protect Australia’s unique wildlife.  It is also a day for reflecting on how our own species has led to the demise of other species.  For example, the Thylacine was thought to attack and kill sheep and other domesticated animals and so it was hunted with bounties being paid for each “Tasmanian Tiger” killed.

The Last Known Thylacine circa 1935

A photograph of a Thylacine.

A picture of “Benjamin” the last known Thylacine to live in captivity.

Picture Credit: David Fleay

The Sad Tale of Benjamin – The Last Known Thylacine

Benjamin is believed to have been captured in the Florentine Valley area (south central Tasmania) in 1933 and brought to Beaumaris Zoo (Hobart).  Although once thought to be female, a more recent analysis confirmed that Benjamin was indeed, in all probability a male.  An inability to determine gender reflects the relative neglect the animal suffered in the zoo.  Indeed, the fact that the animal was even nick-named Benjamin has been challenged by a number of academics and authors.  The Tasmanian winter of 1936 was particularly severe and it seems that the last known Thylacine in captivity probably died of exposure after having been locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters.  And so, the last Thylacine was dead.  Ironically, Beaumaris Zoo, for years dogged by financial difficulties, was to close shortly afterwards.  It was shut down by the Hobart City Council in the last week of November 1937.

In 1996, on the sixtieth anniversary of the death of the only Thylacine to have been given official protection, “National Threatened Species Day” was declared.  A time to reflect on the demise of the Thylacine and how similar fates await other species of flora and fauna unique to Australia unless action is taken to reverse their decline.

The CollectA Female Thylacine Model

Everything Dinosaur is proud to have added the beautiful CollectA female Thylacine model to its range of CollectA models.  The Thylacine, (Thylacinus cynocephalus), was the largest carnivorous marsupial to have lived in Australia in modern times and the last member of a once much more diverse group of marsupials.  The “Tasmanian Tiger” may be thought to be extinct, but is it?

The CollectA Thylacine Model

The CollectA Thylacine replica.

The CollectA Thylacine model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the CollectA “Tasmanian Tiger” model: The CollectA Thylacine Model

Is the Thylacine Extinct?

The main island that makes up the State of Tasmania is a fraction under 25,000 square miles in size, that’s around three times the size of Wales or about the size of the State of West Virginia in the USA.  There have been a number of reported sightings of “Tigers” both in Tasmania and on the Australian mainland.  Evidence for the existence of Thylacines is a little threadbare to say the least.  Blurred and very indistinct photographs, casts of footprints and some poor quality film footage, but nonetheless, there are a number of people, including academics who fervently believe that the Thylacine, although extremely endangered and very vulnerable, is still holding on.  Every now and then a new eyewitness account is published.

Let’s hope that the Thylacine still exists and that one day soon, September 7th will have even greater significance to the people of Australia.

Dinosaur Fossil Skulls as Teaching Aids

A Set of Eleven Dinosaur Skulls

At this time of year, more so than any other time of year, our offices are inundated with requests from teachers and teaching assistants regarding information on suitable dinosaur themed teaching resources for school.  With many of the Everything Dinosaur team members having a background in education, we do appreciate how busy educationalists are at the moment as they prepare for the start of the new academic year.

We have been helping a number of teaching teams as they prepare to introduce dinosaurs as a term topic theme.  Working under the “land before time” or the creative curriculum’s “footprints in the past”, Everything Dinosaur is able to advise and assist with the preparation of schemes of work.  Take for example, the Year 2 teacher who contacted our office this week, with a request to help provide suitable resources for her class of eager seven year-olds.

We recommended a set of model dinosaur skulls (Safari Ltd dinosaur skulls) and we helped the teacher further by providing additional information on each of the dinosaurs featured in this eleven piece model set.

A Set of Dinosaur Fossil Skulls Ideal for School

Dinosaur fossil skull models, ideal for school.

A set of eleven dinosaur fossil skulls.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These well made and quite accurate plastic replicas represent herbivores, carnivores and even an omnivore.  Can the class work out what the dinosaurs ate by examining the skulls?  Can they identify a potential omnivore?  Naturally, this is a great way to help reinforce understanding regarding the terms herbivore, carnivore and omnivore.  Can the children identify living carnivores, omnivores and herbivores?  Where do human beings fit into this?

To view the dinosaur skulls and to see the range of other prehistoric animal models and replicas Everything Dinosaur offers: Safari Ltd Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animals

Identifying Dinosaurs by their Skull Shape

The dinosaur skull set provides lots of scope for independent research on dinosaurs and for sorting games.  For example, we recommend that the fossil skulls be buried in a small sand tray and then the children can have a go at excavating fossils using old art brushes and other digging tools.   What sort of tools would a palaeontologist use?  One teacher split his class into eleven groups and gave each group a different skull. Each group was then challenged to produce a science poster with lots of facts about their dinosaur.

Dinosaur Skull Models

Everything Dinosaur helping to identify dinosaur skulls.

Identifying dinosaur skulls.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on the use of the skulls in education a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“These robust models are great for creative teaching projects.  Using inexpensive props such as these, teaching teams can conduct all sorts of lesson activities that appeal to all types of learners.  The fossil models are very kinaesthetic and children love to handle them and they are very well made and accurately represent real dinosaur fossil skulls.  These models not only help children learn about individual dinosaurs but they can gain an appreciation of the diversity of the Dinosauria and how different types of prehistoric animal adapted to particular ecological niches.”

Learning Life Skills – The Achievosaurs

The Achievosaurs Soft Toys

Teachers and teaching assistants all round the country are busy finalising their schemes of work in readiness for the new term and Everything Dinosaur team members have been helping.  Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) children have been benefiting from an innovative use of dinosaur and prehistoric animal soft toys – the Achievosaurs and Everything Dinosaur has been busy supplying schools and other educational establishments with fluffy and soft prehistoric animal plush in preparation for the start of the autumn term.

“Askaraptor” One of the Achievosaurs from Everything Dinosaur

A Utahraptor dinosaur soft and cuddly toy.

“Askaraptor” – a Utahraptor dinosaur soft toy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For children in Foundation Stage classes (Nursery and Reception), the start of a new term can be quite daunting.  However, teaching teams are tasked with introducing key learning skills at a young age.  The “Achievosaurs”, a group of soft toy prehistoric animals can help children to develop these key skills.  In essence, the Achievosaurs, or as they are sometimes called “the Achieveosaurs”, with the extra “e”, aims to teach children about positive ways in which they can improve their ability to learn.  These qualities include being prepared to ask questions, to share ideas and thoughts and to persevere.  To help reinforce learning the children are incentivised by being able to look after the dinosaur soft toy which epitomises the learning skill that they have demonstrated.

Adopting the Achievosaurs Learning Concept

A large number of schools have adopted the Achievosaurs learning concept across the EYFS cohort and into Year 1.  The dinosaur soft toys often link with a term topic whereby the children study dinosaurs and fossils, for example “the Jurassic Forest” scheme of work.

Achievosaurs Helping to Reinforce Life-Long Learning Skills

Achievosaur soft toy dinosaurs

Helping to reinforce life-long learning skills.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase dinosaur soft toys to make up your own learning skills Achievosaurs set: Itsy Bitsy Soft Toy Dinosaur for Achievosaurs

Here is a list of some of the key learning skills that can be reinforced through the use of the Achievosaurs teaching concept:

ASKARAPTOR – I can use my imagination and ask interesting questions (based on a “raptor” dinosaur such as Velociraptor or Utahraptor regarded as some of the more intelligent and agile of all the dinosaurs).

EXPLORASOR – I like to explore ideas and I enjoy new experiences.

SOLVEOSAURUS REX – I can solve problems and improve (based on T. rex the most famous dinosaur of all).

STICKASAURUS – I stick at tasks and persevere (based on Stegosaurus a popular, plant eating dinosaur with plates on its back).

THINKODOCUS – I think carefully about what I learn (based on the big, plant-eating dinosaur called Diplodocus).

TRYCERATOPS – I try new things, don’t give up and work really hard (based on Triceratops, a very well known horned dinosaur with three horns).

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“One of the great things about the Achievosaurs learning concept is that you can create your own Achievosaurs to suit the particular needs of each class.  For example, we were informed by a Nursery teacher that one of her charges, an only child, had difficulty integrating into the class and found it hard to share things with the other children.  The teaching assistant created “Shareosaurus”, so that this child could be rewarded when they shared items with their classmates.”

Preparations for Later on in Life

These important skills can help prepare children for learning later on in life.  Teachers and teaching assistants can come up with their on variants and new additions, however, the trouble is, identifying soft toys that represent the likes of Diplodocus and Tyrannosaurus rex.  The experts at Everything Dinosaur can help.

With the support of Everything Dinosaur’s trained specialists, teachers can utilise a child’s fascination with dinosaurs to help reinforce important life lessons.  Enthusing and motivating children to learn by using dinosaur soft toys in school.

Team members from the company also visit schools to delivery practical, lively and very kinaesthetic dinosaur themed workshops:

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s school workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur to Enquire About Dinosaur Themed School Workshops

Back to School with Everything Dinosaur

Fantastic Dinosaur Themed Back to School Items from Everything Dinosaur

No sooner do the schools break up then our thoughts are turning to the Autumn Term.  The teaching team at Everything Dinosaur are already booked up quite a lot for both next term and into the Spring but there are still some dates available for our dinosaur workshops in school.  However, just as teachers commence preparations for their scheme of work to be delivered next term, so parents too are planning ahead.  Mums and dads, grandparents and guardians will be turning their thoughts to kitting out their charges ready for when the children go back to school.  For budding young palaeontologists Everything Dinosaur has a huge range of prehistoric animal themed school items, from pencils through to lunchboxes and backpacks, Everything Dinosaur has getting ready for school covered.

Some of the Dinosaur Themed Back to School Items Available from Everything Dinosaur

Back to school items available from Everything Dinosaur

Back to school stationery available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Whether you are looking for notepads with a dinosaur motif, or pens and pencils so that young dinosaur fans can jot down their discoveries, Everything Dinosaur is the place to go to find back to school prehistoric animal themed school sets and stationery.

Back to School stock in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Back to School

There are school kits, dinosaur stationery sets, soft and cuddly back packs, pencil cases, notebooks, notepads and a whole range of other items, a list as long as a the neck of a Tanystropheus – there is plenty of choice, enough to make even the most reluctant school child roar in approval like an angry Tyrannosaurus rex.

Back to School with Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur pens available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Notes for Teachers

As for our popular dinosaur and fossil themed workshops in schools, our team members are booked up well into the Spring term.  However, there are some dates still available and for further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools, simply visit the link below for further information.

Contact Everything Dinosaur to enquire about dinosaur themed workshops in school: Contact Everything Dinosaur, request a quotation

Year 1 Send Letters to Everything Dinosaur

Year 1 at Forden Church in Wales School Send Letters

The children in Year 1 at Forden Church in Wales School have been studying dinosaurs and prehistoric animals this term.  The young scientists have been learning all about fossils and life in the past.  A team member from Everything Dinosaur visited the school for a morning last month to show the children fossils and to teach them about dinosaurs.  Our fossil expert challenged the children in Year 1 to write letters to Everything Dinosaur and sure enough, yesterday, we received a lovely set of dinosaur themed letters from the children.

Year 1 Children Send in Letters to Everything Dinosaur

Schoolchildren write to Everything Dinosaur.

Examples of the dinosaur themed letters sent in.

Picture Credit: Forden Church in Wales School (Ellie, Evan, Faye and Logan)

Year 1 Learning about Technology

Mrs Davies, the enthusiastic teacher, explained that her class had written thank you letters after the fabulous morning of workshops with Everything Dinosaur.  Year 1 have been learning how to take photographs on the iPad and import them into a different document, the children have also been showing off their typing skills too.

Learning About the Biggest Meat-Eating Dinosaurs

William learnt about meat-eating dinosaurs.

A thank you letter from William.

Picture Credit: Forden Church in Wales School (William)

William now knows that Spinosaurus was bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex.  Hollie was amazed by all the fossils and she enjoyed playing the games.

Most Real Fossils Feel Cold When You Touch Them

Thank you after the dinosaur workshop.

A thank you letter from Hollie.

Picture Credit: Forden Church in Wales School (Hollie)

Hollie chose to illustrate her thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur using a model of a Pteranodon (flying reptile).  Jodie was amazed by all the fossils and she now knows that when you touch a fossil it feels cold!  Jodie also chose to illustrate her letter with a Pteranodon.  Jessica on the other hand, selected a wonderful model of a duck-billed dinosaur, a big plant-eater called Parasaurolophus for her letter.  She liked having her picture taken with the fossils.

Jessica’s Letter and the Parasaurolophus Model

A thank you note to Everything Dinosaur.

After the dinosaur workshop, Jessica wrote in to thank us.

Picture Credit: Forden Church in Wales School (Jessica)

A big thank you to all the children in Year 1 who sent in letters to Everything Dinosaur (Chloe, Arthur, Jack, Jodie, Jessica, Hollie, William, Evan, Ellie, Logan and Faye).  A special thank you to the teachers and staff at Forden Church in Wales School, for assisting the Year 1 children in their letter writing extension activity.

The Daresbury Laboratory Open Day

The Dino Zone at Daresbury Laboratory Open Day

All is set and ready for the Daresbury Laboratory Open Day, taking place today.  Team members arrived at the site, located close to Warrington (Cheshire) and set up all the fossils and other dinosaur related items for the “Dino Zone”.

All Ready for Action at the “Dino Zone”

The Dino Zone and Everything Dinosaur

Ready for action, the Everything Dinosaur exhibit as part of the Dino Zone at Daresbury Laboratory.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Staff had been on site the day before to help organise the layout and to assist in the first stage of the set up, then it was an early start to ensure we were ready to begin meeting and greeting dinosaur fans from the time the science fair opened promptly at 9am.  Sure enough, despite the inclement weather we had our first visitors a few minutes later.

The Calm Before the Storm

Everything Dinosaur and their Dino Zone

Fossil digging and lots of fossils to explore.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We had just finished setting up the fossil identification display boards when the first family arrived.  In total, something like 7,500 people had registered for this free-to-attend science event.  It was a long day for Everything Dinosaur team members, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there were lots of happy children, mums and dads, despite the rain.

Feedback on the Daresbury Laboratory Open Day

We noted lots of wonderful, positive feedback on social media.  It seems that the event has been a really big success.

Marielle wrote to say:

“Such a fantastic science discovery day!  Well done Daresbury Lab/STFC and all who helped make this a truly amazing public and family-friendly event!!  My 6 year-old and I enjoyed everything we experienced, from walking the T. rex, having our infra-red picture taken to digging up human bone replicas and ‘driving’ mini-rovers, and more!  But the winning attraction seems to have been the Dino Zone, especially fossil digging… Please, please, do not wait 10 years to organise another one!!!  (Oh, and the logistics was great too!).  Thank you.”

Lisa added:

“Thanks to all the organisers and staff for a thoroughly enjoyable day.  We are so lucky to have such a great place on our doorstep where wonderful things are happening each day and by allowing the community to visit you are inspiring our children to want to do great things in life.”

It seems that the Daresbury Laboratory Open Day and the “Dino Zone” was a roaring success.  Just time to thank all the wonderful staff and volunteers at Daresbury Laboratory for making today, a day to remember for lots of people.

The Dark Matter Garden at Daresbury

The Daresbury Dark Matter Garden

As Everything Dinosaur team members prepare to take part in the public open day at Daresbury Laboratory (Cheshire), there was time to admire the wonderful, mature Dark Matter garden on the site.  The garden was commissioned in 2015 to mark the centenary of the publication of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

A View into the Dark Matter Garden Located at Daresbury Laboratory (Cheshire)

The dark matter garden (Daresbury Science Laboratories)

A view into the Dark Matter garden at Daresbury Science Laboratories (Warrington, Cheshire)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

What is Dark Matter?

Dark Matter is very mysterious, it is the “stuff” that is believed to make up a significant percentage of our universe, but it cannot be seen and detecting it is extremely difficult.  However, we can measure the effect of Dark Matter on other objects.  It has gravitational effects on visible matter, these effects can be detected and the presence of this Dark Matter inferred from such interactions.

The Award Winning Dark Matter Garden

The award winning Daresbury dark matter garden.

The warped steel rods represent the effect of dark matter on the bending of light.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The garden has matured since it was awarded a gold rating at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show last year.  The planting emphasises our changing universe and the warped steel rods, as they bend and twist through the plot represent the bending of the trajectory of light around massive objects.  As the wind blows through the substantial bamboo grass in the centre it reflects the effect invisible forces have.  At one end is a large square metal structure with a round aperture.  The symbolises the human view from Earth based telescopes as we look into space and explore the wonders of the universe.

The Hunt for Dark Matter

Dark Matter fascinates the scientific community and scientists from all over the world are working hard to understand more about it.  Our planet would not have formed without it, stars, galaxies and our universe is dependent upon it yet Dark Matter’s existence has only been proved indirectly.  Scientists are on a quest to find out more about it.

Professor Andy Newsam, Director of the National Schools’ Observatory at Liverpool John Moores University which organised the garden, explained:

“Dark Matter is a hypothetical kind of matter that cannot be seen with telescopes but accounts for most of the matter in the universe.  The existence and properties of Dark Matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation and the large-scale structure of the universe.”

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), as funders of Dark Matter research in the UK and at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, sponsored the Chelsea Flower Show exhibit.

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