Category: Teaching

Helping to Organise a School Trip to Wren’s Nest

Wren’s Nest and School Trips

Everything Dinosaur has been contacted by a school based in the West Midlands, seeking advice about a trip to the famous Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve, a place we know very well indeed!  This location is a popular destination for local schools which are studying fossils and rocks as part of the National Curriculum (England).  Wren’s Nest is to the north-east of the town of Dudley and it is a designated SSSI (site of special scientific interest), so no hammering at the cliffs of this former quarry is allowed. However, lots of fossils are being washed out of the scree slopes and there is something like seven hundred different types of fossil to collect, nearly ninety of which are unique to the Wren’s Nest area.

The Famous Ripple Beds at Wren’s Nest

Ripples preserved in limestone.

The famous ripple beds at Wren’s Nest SSSI located in the West Midlands.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the famous “Ripple Bed Hill” at Wren’s Nest.  This near vertical cliff face was once at the bottom of a shallow sea.  The “ripples” are the preserved remains of wave action on the seabed, they are around 426 million years old.  Taking schoolchildren to this location, helps them to gain an appreciation of deep, geological time.

How Did the Ripple Beds Form?

These structures formed as a result of massive, probably seasonal storms that swept across the normally, relatively calm sea.  The huge waves generated by the storm, led to the seabed being disturbed, the waves created by the storm had much more energy and their effect was felt much deeper in the tropical sea than usual.  Sand and debris was picked up and washed backwards and forwards over the seabed, creating the ripples.  The seabed was nearly 100 feet (thirty metres), under water and normally it would have been unaffected by usual sea conditions.  However, the symmetrical ripples are evidence of storm damage to this part of the seabed back in the Late Silurian.

After the storm had passed, the sea would have once again returned to its relatively calm state.  Thirty metres down the seabed was once again protected by the effects of normal-sized waves, which could not penetrate deep enough to wipe away the ridges and ripples caused by the storm.  Crinoids, (sea-lilies) soon colonised this part of the sea floor. However, sometime later, perhaps a few months, or perhaps after several years a large amount of mud was dumped on top of the ripples, permitting their preservation.  The mud could have been deposited as a result of exceptional run-off from the land, or perhaps an earthquake or other seismic event led to a large amount of sediment being shifted.  Whatever, the cause the ripples (and the crinoids living on them), were buried.  Palaeontologists have identified a total of twenty-five ripple bed areas in the cliffs that make up this feature of Wren’s Nest.  Each ripple bed represents a separate storm event.

Fossils Galore to be Found

More than 700 different fossils found at Wren's Nest

Lots of brachiopod and coral fossils to find at Wren’s Nest.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Top Tips for a School Visit to Wren’s Nest

The site represents the remains of an ancient coral ecosystem dating between 423-426 million years ago (mya), it is Silurian in age and more than 700 different types of fossils have been found at this site.  A party of schoolchildren will not collect them all, but they are bound to find plenty of fossils to satisfy curious minds.  However, finding your own Trilobite fossil, a “Dudley Bug” Calymene blumenbachii, is most unlikely but you might find a fragment of the exoskeleton, a piece shed when the animal moulted.

• This is an SSSI (site of special scientific interest), no hammers or tools of any kind are permitted on site. However, you don’t need any tools as the constantly eroding scree provides lots of fossils that can simply be picked up.
• There are no toilet facilities at this location
• A mid-week visit is best, either quite early in the morning or in the afternoon, although, the area tends not to be that busy at most times
• When we visit we park close to the Caves Inn (car parking from 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday)
• The slopes are a magnet for young fossil hunters who love to try to climb them (and run up and down them), these slopes are very steep and very slippery after rain, so sensible precautions need to be taken.
• There is a slight risk of rock falls, after all, this is an old quarry site, but in all our visits, we have never seen any evidence of this.
• Contact Wren’s Nest here: Further information about Wren’s Nest. You might even be able to arrange short talk by one of the very knowledgeable wardens.

Typical Scree Slope at Wren’s Nest

Wren's Nest SSSI

A view of Wren’s Nest.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Foundation Children and Year 2 Study Dinosaurs

January – A Month of Studying Dinosaurs

Children in the Foundation Stage and Year 2 at Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, (Rotherham, South Yorkshire), spent last month learning all about dinosaurs and fossils.  The dedicated and enthusiastic teaching staff had put together an exciting and challenging scheme of work and as part of a planned range of experiences, Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to deliver dinosaur and fossil themed workshops for the children.  The visitor from Everything Dinosaur had already liaised with the teaching staff to ensure that the Foundation Stage 1 children (Nursery), could be involved.  The Foundation Stage 1 children are split between a morning session and an afternoon session.  To allow all the Nursery and Reception children to participate, it was simply a case of dividing the Reception class into two.  This meant that some Reception children could have a workshop with the morning Nursery children, whilst the remainder of the class could have a workshop after lunch joining the afternoon Nursery class.  The dinosaur expert coordinated his lesson plans with the school so that each group had a similar kinaesthetic and visual learning experience.  This would help the Reception class team, when the children were brought together again, to review the many photographs of the workshop as part of a recall/recounting activity.

Lots of Amazing Dinosaur Designs

Drawings of dinosaurs.

Dinosaur drawings.

Picture Credit: Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

Design Your Own Dinosaur!

Several extension ideas came out of the dinosaur workshops.  For example, we challenged the children to have a go at designing their own dinosaur.  We wanted to see if the children could label the body parts of their prehistoric animal creation, especially the skull.  We carefully arranged the drawings from the classes, (the teacher had kindly sent in the drawings to us), on our warehouse floor, these were photographed before they were pinned onto our various display boards.

Imaginative Dinosaur Designs

Dinosaur drawings.

Wonderful dinosaur drawings.

Picture Credit: Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

We asked the Year 2 children to consider what colour the dinosaur might be?  Where would it have lived?  How would it have kept itself safe in the Age of Dinosaurs?  This activity for the Reception children helps them with their fine motor skills as well as reinforcing ideas about our own bodies and how they differ from animals.

Under the guidance of the teaching team, many of the children embellished their designs using different materials like sparkles, coloured circles, buttons and feathers.  Feathers are quite appropriate as palaeontologists are confident that a large number of dinosaurs were indeed, covered in a coat of shaggy feathers.

Lots of Dinosaurs were Feathered

A feathered ornithomimid dinosaur.

Mums and Dads with wings in the Ornithomimidae

Picture Credit: Press Association (illustration by Julius Csotonyi)

A Jessosaurus One of the Dinosaur Designs

A dinosaur design.

Jessosaurus – dinosaur design.

Picture Credit: Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

A Long-Legged Dinosaur with Big Eyes

A very long-legged dinosaur.

A long-legged dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching work in schools and dinosaur workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Our thanks to the teaching team at Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School for sending into Everything Dinosaur such a super selection of dinosaur drawings.

“Les Dinosaures” Drawing Materials from Papo

“Les Dinosaures” Drawing Materials from Papo

Papo the France-based model and figure manufacturer have donated a pdf featuring prehistoric animals so that Everything Dinosaur can offer this as a free to download Key Stage 1 and EYFS teaching resource for schools.  Children enjoy colouring pictures of dinosaurs and other amazing creatures that lived in the past, the Papo colouring in materials features the horned dinosaur Styracosaurus (Late Cretaceous) and a Sabre-Tooth Cat, a Smilodon (Pleistocene Epoch).

The Prehistoric Animal Drawing to Colour In

Prehistoric animal scene to colour in from Papo of France.

Prehistoric animal drawing materials donated by Papo.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur and Papo

Everything Dinosaur offers a wide range of free to download teaching resources as part of its extensive work in schools, helping to teach about life in the past.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our thanks to Papo for sending across the image, it will be available as a free to download pdf file from our specialist dinosaurs for schools website.  We now offer over thirty free downloads of teaching resources for schools, aimed at Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 4.”

To see the Everything Dinosaur specialist schools site and to gain access to the free to download teaching materials and other resources: Everything Dinosaur School Website

Word Mats, Lesson Plans and How to Demonstrate Birds are Dinosaurs

A number of Papo prehistoric animal models are used in our dinosaur themed workshops with children.  For example, when discussing evolution and natural selection with Year six pupils we use models of the various Velociraptors made by Papo to demonstrate how our ideas about dinosaurs have changed over time.  The Papo feathered Velociraptor is ideal for demonstrating how closely related to birds some Theropod dinosaurs were.

The Papo Velociraptor Dinosaur Model Makes a Useful Teaching Aid

The Papo feathered Velociraptor dinosaur model.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Papo feathered Velociraptor dinosaur model makes a wonderful, tactile teaching aid when demonstrating how closely related the Aves (birds), are to some kinds of dinosaur.  This element from our dinosaur workshop provides lots of extension ideas and activities.  The class become avid bird watchers, or should that be “avian dinosaur watchers”.

When working with younger children we challenge them to develop their vocabulary using pictures of Papo prehistoric animal models.  We have made a series of word mats, that once laminated can help children gain confidence with new words and can help them learn the differences between people and animals.  The accompanying pronunciation guide and geological time line proves very useful to the teachers too.

Papo Model Inspired Word Mats Produced by Everything Dinosaur

Word mat featuring Spinosaurus.

Papo Spinosaurus word mat.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Papo prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

Everything Dinosaur Customer Reviews

Everything Dinosaur Customer Reviews

As Everything Dinosaur prepares to introduce a new website, time today to reflect on all the wonderful reviews the company has received from its customers.  Over 1,500 comments, reviews and feedback from customers have been posted up on Everything Dinosaur’s website, we are grateful for them all.  The “dinosaurs for schools” website has a different review format.  This website in the Everything Dinosaur portfolio is dedicated to helping teachers, teaching assistants and educationalists and provides lots of helpful prehistoric animal themed resources for schools.  There are more than thirty free downloads available, all aimed at supporting the curriculum, this website has reviews of our dinosaur themed workshops posted up.  Over 170 schools have provided feedback and we are very proud of our five-star rating.

Recent Reviews on the Everything Dinosaur Website:

  • Sculptor Doug Watson has thoroughly consulted modern scientific literature on the “Tyrant King” to create this defining model.  Whilst the reality of soft tissue extent and integumentary coverage in Tyrannosaurus rex is long lost in the depths of time, this model is anatomically precise, and is a very feasible reconstruction based on the forensic modern approach to dinosaur research.  There is nothing “fluffy” or soft about this reconstruction.  It is perfectly realised as THE alpha predator stem bird!  Exceptional.  No collector should be without one! [Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex model].
  • An awesome model.  Absolutely quality, fantastic model; great size and beautiful detail!  [CollectA Kelenken Terror Bird replica].
  • Nice to deal with a company that cares about its customers.  I would just like to thank you, received my order today it is a lovely set, my grandson will love it, nice to deal with a company who cares about their customers from the start of ordering to end with delivery.  Keep up the good work.  Thank you. [Dinosaur Dinner Set]
  • It seems I was lucky in nabbing the last one from ED so I will just say, if you like the look of this replica, it’s well worth the effort hunting one down.  As usual ED are extremely helpful and super-fast dispatching their orders.  Thank you. [Rebor 1:1 scale Lourinhanosaurus replica – limited edition].

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex Model Has Attracted a Lot of Favourable Reviews

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Recent Reviews on the Everything Dinosaur “dinosaurs for school” Website:

  • The whole morning session was excellent.  Children (and staff) were engaged and enthralled by the information, fossils and activities.  Support and follow-up ideas are excellent and have really helped to shape my topic from this point.  Overall a fantastic experience and learning session for all involved.  Brilliant workshop!  [Dinosaur Workshop KS1]
  • The children had an amazing experience today.  The detail of the lesson plan and discussion beforehand meant that lots of knowledge was reinforced and gained.  Dino Mike had the whole class mesmerised for the duration of the session.  The resources were great.  [Year 1]
  • Another wonderful session.  All children involved very active and interactive, ideal for the age of the children.  Mike’s energy and personality are so well suited to these sessions.  I know Mike has visited at least seven times before over the years and I guarantee that we will book again.  [Reception]

Everything Dinosaur’s Workshops in Schools Help to Popularise Science in Schools

Getting involved in science.

Get up close to science with a hands-on public day at Daresbury SciTech.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We look forward to having even more reviews and customer comments on our new website.

Gigantosaurus – You Mean Giganotosaurus?

No Such Dinosaur As Gigantosaurus

This week, team members at Everything Dinosaur are in the middle of their dinosaur themed workshops planned for the first half of the Spring Term.  About fifteen workshops have been undertaken since Christmas and there are another fifteen or so to go before the half-term break.  On Friday, a member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching team will be visiting a school to work with two classes of Year 2 children who have been learning about dinosaurs.  The inspirational text is “Gigantosaurus” written by Jonny Duddle.  The class teacher has been using this fictional text to inspire English work by using imaginative descriptions to create characters and setting descriptions.  In addition, the Lower Key Stage children will be exploring rhyme through poetry.

However, there has not been a dinosaur named “Gigantosaurus”.

Children Being Inspired by a Dinosaur Book

Gigantosaurus.

No such dinosaur called “Gigantosaurus”.

 

Carefully Crafted Scheme of Work

The choice of dinosaur themed text is part of a carefully crafted scheme of work that explores a range of fiction and non-fiction texts over the course of the term topic.  Non-fiction texts are being used to help challenge the children to write non-chronological reports.  For those readers unfamiliar with the book “Gigantosaurus”, it is a simple tale based on the story of the boy who cried wolf.  All young dinosaurs are warned about the scary “Gigantosaurus”.   Young Bonehead volunteers to be the lookout whenever the group of dinosaur friends go into the jungle to play.  He alerts his friends on numerous occasions but “Gigantosaurus” is nowhere to be seen, this is the story of the “boy who cried wolf”.  Bonehead’s friends refuse to believe his warnings when the dinosaur called “Gigantosaurus” finally turns up.

Giganotosaurus carolinii or Gigantspinosaurus sichuanensis

Inspirational this fiction text might be, but most young palaeontologists will tell you that the closest real dinosaur name is Giganotosaurus (giant southern lizard), a meat-eating dinosaur and one of the largest terrestrial carnivores known to science.

A Model of the Giant Meat-eating Dinosaur Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii)

Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ironically, Giganotosaurus (pronounced jy-ga-no-toe-sore-us), is a favourite amongst children, especially boys.  Being bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex makes Giganotosaurus carolinii very popular indeed.  It is not the only dinosaur with a similar sounding name. There is Stegosaur from China known as Gigantspinosaurus (G. sichuanensis).  The genus name means “giant spined lizard” and one glance at the illustration of this plant-eating dinosaur (below) will tell you why.

An Illustration of Gigantspinosaurus (G. sichuanensis)

A drawing of Gigantspinosaurus.

The very “spiky” Gigantspinosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As part of a series of extension activities planned for the children after our dinosaur workshop in the school, we have prepared a dinosaur “hokey cokey” song for the children, it will help them explore rhyme through a familiar song.  We will also be telling them all about Giganotosaurus.

Young Explorers at Ansdell Primary

Pupils at Ansdell Primary Study Dinosaurs

Children at Ansdell Primary in Lytham St Annes (Lancashire), learned about prehistoric animals with a dinosaur themed workshop from Everything Dinosaur.  The pupils in Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and a class of Year 3 were given the chance to get their hands on real fossils and to explore life in the past when a team member visited their school.  A special room had been set up by the dedicated and enthusiastic teaching staff, a space that was referred to as the “Explorers Area”, it was full of exciting and challenging dinosaur and fossil themed craft activities for the children to try.  Part of the wall had an enormous prehistoric landscape mural painted on it, including erupting volcanoes – what a stimulating learning environment for the eager, young palaeontologists!

The Prehistoric Wall Mural in the “Explorers Area”

A prehistoric landscape mural.

A colourful prehistoric landscape helps to inspire children.

Picture Credit: Ansdell Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Many of the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children helped to create the landscape painting, it is a very colourful wall mural and we think the huge volcano is brilliant.

Jurassic Arts and Crafts

The “Explorers Area” helps to reinforce learning with a focus on particular aspects of the term topic.  With the topic this term all about dinosaurs, a sand tray had been placed in the centre of the room and within the tray various plastic bones had been hidden.  Children were challenged to dig for the bones just like a palaeontologist and then they were asked to measure them and sort them in order of size.  This activity is a great way to get young children more confident with rulers and measuring cubes and helps them feel more comfortable when using numbers.  Art straws had been used to make a number of different dinosaur skeletons and some of the children had been sketching fossils using charcoal pencils.  Another group had been painting dinosaur themed pictures using stencils, this too, had led to the creation of a very colourful display.

Dinosaur Stencil Paintings on Display in the “Explorers Area”

Colourful dinosaur illustrations

The children created lots of colourful dinosaur stencil drawings.

Picture Credit: Ansdell Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Design Your Own Dinosaur

As part of a number of extension activities set by Everything Dinosaur, the children were challenged to design their very own dinosaur.  As well as creating a prehistoric animal, the Everything Dinosaur team member asked the children to label various body parts, to consider how their dinosaur might survive in the Jurassic and what colour it might be.  The children were asked to think of a suitable name for their creation and some beautiful and very imaginative drawings were shown to our fossil expert over the course of the day.

 For further information on Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Key Stage 1 Study Dinosaurs

Year 1 and Year 2 Study Dinosaurs

A day of studying dinosaurs and fossils was in store for the children in Key Stage 1 at Rykneld Primary as they braved the snowy conditions to make it into school.  The trip was certainly worth it with one enthusiastic Year 2 pupil declaring that today had been his “best day ever”, as the children learned all about dinosaurs and fossils in a series of workshops with Everything Dinosaur.

The spacious, newly constructed sports hall provided a splendid venue for the four dinosaur themed workshops.  The three classes that make up the Year 1 cohort were combined together so that two lengthy workshops could be conducted in the morning.  Half of Mrs Chell’s class took part in the first workshop, the remainder joined in with the second workshop that commenced later in the morning.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of the ninety children that make up Year 2.  Once again, in order to provide longer workshops, one class was split with half of them joining the first workshop of the afternoon and the other half taking part in the fourth and final workshop.

Inspired by Seeing and Handling Ammonite Fossils Children Made Clay Ammonites

Key Stage 1 children make clay ammonite fossils.

Year 1 children make clay ammonite fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ammonite Fossils

Ammonite fossils were used to help the children learn about how fossils form and what they can tell us about life in the past.  After the inspiring fossil workshop, one Year 1 class spent part of the afternoon making their own clay ammonite fossils.  The Everything Dinosaur team member who conducted the dinosaur workshops was most impressed by the various spiral shapes and patterns the children had created.

Cephalopods in the Classroom Fossils in the Field

An Ammonite fossil.

A big fossil close to the Ammonite Pavement.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Some of the ammonites that Everything Dinosaur had brought were very large and heavy.  Lucky pupils got the chance to hold these big fossils to see for themselves just how heavy (and cold) fossils can be.  One of the challenges set was to help the children develop their vocabularies by thinking of words to describe some of the specimens.  We had some amazing adjectives – well done Year 1 and Year 2.

An Impressive “Wow” Wall in a Classroom

A volcano on display in a classroom.

A “Wow” Wall in a classroom with a wonderful volcano exhibit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Rykneld Primary

The well-appointed and roomy classrooms had lots of prehistoric animal themed displays.  Year 4 had been studying the Stone Age and outside their classroom was a magnificent Woolly Mammoth model, complete with curly tusks.  However, our favourite piece of prehistoric themed art was spotted in one of the Year 1 classrooms.  The picture above shows a splendid three-dimensional volcano model, complete with lava erupting from its top.  Just like Everything Dinosaur’s workshops, such wonderful art is bound to inspire and motivate the Key Stage 2 pupils.

To request information about Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil workshops in schools: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Year 5 and Year 6 Explore Deep Time

Stone Age/Iron Age and Before with Upper Key Stage 2

Year 5 and Year 6 pupils at Thorne Greentop School are exploring deep time this term.  The dedicated teaching team have compiled an exciting and challenging scheme of work covering recent human history and introducing evolution, natural selection and profiling Charles Darwin.  A member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching staff was invited into the classroom to provide a tactile provocation to introduce some of the topic areas to the children.  The enthusiastic pupils had already created some fine artwork reflecting early cave paintings.  In addition, suspended from the classroom ceiling, there was a row of Stone Age spears that had been made by Upper Key Stage 2, their flint tips represented by carefully shaped tin foil.

During each workshop, examples of how animals adapt or fail to adapt to environmental changes were provided.  Evidence about life in the past was explored using fossils and the concepts of extinction and de-extinction were examined.

As well as learning about life in the past, the thought provoking scheme of work challenged the children to consider how might our own species evolve over time? What changes in us and our bodies will take place?  How will technology affect the evolution of mankind?

How Will Our Species Evolve?

The ascent of man.

How will our species evolve?

Picture Credit: Thorne Greentop School

Learning About Coelacanths

One of a number of extension activities set by the visitor involved the children researching the story of the Coelacanth.  Coelacanths were thought to have died out with the non-avian dinosaurs some sixty-six million years ago, until one was caught by a fisherman off the eastern coast of South Africa in 1938.

The Story of the Discovery of the Coelacanth Can Help to Support Lesson Plans Focusing on Adaptation and Natural Selection

The Coelacanth.

A “living fossil”

Coelacanth catches are rare, marine scientists have expressed concern about these remarkable fishes, once thought to be very closely related to the first land animals, numbers may be dwindling as commercial activity and pollution destroys their habitat.

To read about a recent Coelacanth catch: Coelacanth Caught off the Island of Zanzibar

Creating a Record of the Children’s Work

The innovative plan for the term is to build up the children’s knowledge using a wide range of teaching methods and learning styles culminating in the publication of a workbook that takes the reader through a chronological history of mankind and our planet.  We have been promised a copy and we are looking forward to receiving it.  Having discussed the types of animals that roamed the landscape some twenty thousand years or so before the school was built, our teaching team member set the children a creative writing challenge.  Could they imagine what it would have been like to take part in a Woolly Mammoth hunt?

Preparing for a Woolly Mammoth Hunt

Preparing for the hunt.

Getting ready for the Mammoth hunt.

Picture Credit: Greg Harlin

 We look forward to hearing more news from Thorne Greentop school as they explore our Earth’s amazing history.

Year 2/3 Children Design Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Designs

As 2016 draws to a close, team members at Everything Dinosaur can reflect on all the teaching work that they have carried out over the last twelve months.  Our work in schools may be just about finished for the year, but we are still responding to emails and phone calls from teachers advising them on next term’s dinosaur topic.  The teaching itinerary may be completely full for the Spring Term, next week will see us sending out emails to schools to finalise the arrangements for January’s teaching dates, but we are still supporting those schools and classes that we visited in November, helping the teaching team to maximise the benefits from one of our dinosaur workshops in school.

A Thank You Letter from Cyprian

Year 2/3 children design dinosaurs.

A “Cypyensores” created by Cyprian (Year 2/3).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Thank You Letters

Take for example, one of our recent visits to work with a mixed class of Year 2/3 children.  During our dinosaur and fossil themed workshop, we set the class a number of our “pinkie palaeontologist” challenges.  We asked the children to send us a thank you letter.  This provides the teacher with a great opportunity to introduce a dinosaur-themed writing exercise.  The picture above shows one such thank you letter, sent into Everything Dinosaur from Cyprian.  If the children had questions that we had not been able to answer during our morning of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed teaching activities, we suggested that they might want to include the question within their letter.  This gives the teaching team the opportunity to check appropriate use of grammar and punctuation.  It also provides a wonderful opportunity for the children to practice their cursive hand-writing, a key requirement of the English element of the national curriculum for this age group.

A Dinosaur Design by Lois

Lois (Year 2/3) designs a plant-eating dinosaur.

Lois and her green, plant-eating dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Designing Dinosaurs

During the workshop with this mixed class of Year 2/3 children, we asked the class to have a go at designing their very own dinosaur.  This permitted us to help reinforce the teacher’s scheme of work which included reference to simple food chains, habitats and the idea of extinction events.  Cyprian designed a “Cypyensores”, whilst Lois, one of his classmates, opted to produce a green, plant-eating dinosaur, with lots of lovely labels to help describe this dinosaur and to indicate what it might have needed to survive if this dinosaur had lived millions of years ago.

The class teacher commented:

“Thank you so much for coming to visit us on Friday, I really hope you enjoyed your time at our school.  All of the children really enjoyed meeting you and learning some amazing information about the dinosaurs.  It was a great discussion point for my class, which carried on until home time!”

To enquire about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching work in schools (summer term): Email Everything Dinosaur About Dinosaur Themed Workshops in School

Year 2/3 Send in Thank You Letters

Year 2/3AP Say Thank You

Back on the 18th November, one of our team members visited Pebble Brook Primary in Cheshire to undertake a series of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops with three classes.  We challenged Miss Pestell’s class to write to our offices and send us thank you letters. We wanted to see lots of careful hand-writing with sentences starting with capital letters and proper use of punctuation.  Sure enough, yesterday afternoon the postman arrived and handed over a big red envelope which when opened, was found to contain lots of lovely letters from the children.

What a Lovely Set of Thank You Letters from 2/3AP

Thank you letters sent to Everything Dinosaur

Year 2/3AP sent in thank you letters to Everything Dinosaur after our fossil workshop.

Picture Credit: Year 2/3AP (Pebble Brook Primary) Everything Dinosaur

Drawings of Dinosaurs

During our dinosaur workshop, we asked the eager, young palaeontologists to imagine designing their very own dinosaur.  The children chose to illustrate their letters to us with some of their dinosaur creations.  Our dinosaur expert wanted to see lots of labelling on the diagrams and the children certainly obliged, well done Year 2/3AP.  Young Alfie even put a drawing of “Dinosaur Mike” next to his dinosaur so that he could show the scale, that’s a really good idea.

Alfie’s Letter Included a Prehistoric Animal Drawing That Used “Dinosaur Mike” for Scale

Alfie says thank you after the dinosaur workshop.

Alfie’s thank you letter.

Picture Credit: Alfie (Pebble Brook Primary)/Everything Dinosaur

A number of the children, including Ashlea, Luke and Adam wanted to know how we find all the fossils?  Well, it takes patience and you have to visit places such as beaches where fossils are being washed out of the cliffs, then you simply explore the beach area picking up and examining any strange shaped objects you might find amongst the stones and gravel.  Sometimes, we have to dig out dinosaur bones using excavators and shovels, but when we get close to the bone we take great care and use much smaller tools such as fine chisels and brushes to carefully free the fossil from the surrounding rock.   If the children of class 2/3AP found a complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex buried in their playground and they all worked eight hours a day, seven days a week it could take more than three years to excavate the fossilised bones, clean them all and prepare them for display in a museum!

Mia asked how much does a T. rex weigh?  Another good question, we estimate that a fully-grown T. rex would weigh around seven tonnes, that’s heavier than more than 250 Year 2 pupils!  Some children asked how big was a T. rex skull?  Recently, palaeontologists discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex skull in America, when it has been dug out and put together it is likely to measure more than 1.2 metres long.

A Super Thank You Letter Sent in by Anita

Young dinosaur fan send in a letter.

A thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur from Anita.

Picture Credit: Anita (Pebble Brook Primary)/Everything Dinosaur

Several of the children impressed with their joined-up hand-writing and we really like the spiky dinosaur that Anita drew for us.  To answer your question Anita, T. rex was a meat-eater, whilst Stegosaurus was a plant-eater, can the children in Year 2/3AP remember the word used by scientists to describe a meat-eater C_R_IV_RE?  Can they remember the word used to describe plant-eaters H_RB_V__E?

A Thank You Letter from Ruby

A thank you letter from Ruby.

Ruby’s thank you letter.

Picture Credit: Ruby (Pebble Brook Primary)/Everything Dinosaur

Lots and Lots of Questions

Andrea asked what age our dinosaur expert was when he found his first fossils?  He was eight-years-old, when he found his first fossils on a trip to the seaside.  Lucie and Patricia asked how many fossils have we got?  To be honest Patricia and Lucie, we have never stopped to count them all, we must have a few thousand in total.  Our thanks to Andrei, Ryan, Cyprian and Lois and to the whole of class 2/3AP for their super dinosaur designs.  We enjoyed looking at all the prehistoric animal drawings and we loved reading all the wonderful letters.  A big T. rex roar with delight to all the children in Year 2/3AP and a special thank you from us to Miss Pestell for being such an inspiring teacher.

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