All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Teaching

Everything Dinosaur team members working in schools, helping museums and other educational bodies. Our work with and in schools.

15 11, 2017

Dinosaur Letters – Answering Questions

By | November 15th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Letters from Streethouse Primary

Our thanks to the Year 5/6 class at Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School (West Yorkshire), for sending in some super dinosaur letters and some amazingly colourful prehistoric animal posters.  We set this Key Stage 2 class a series of extension exercises (hope the children have enjoyed researching the Coelacanth), one of the extensions involved writing a thank you letter and sending them into our office.  We have received a collection of wonderful dinosaur-themed correspondence.

Dinosaur Letters Sent by Schoolchildren

Prehistoric animal themed letters.

A collection of correspondence from Year 5/6 pupils.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

Answering Questions

Violet wanted to know if we could name a dinosaur, what would we call it?  That is a very good question, given that Violet lives in Yorkshire and that numerous dinosaur fossils have been found in that part of the world, if we were lucky enough to find a new dinosaur in northern England, we might have to name it “Yorkshiresaurus”.

Violet’s Letter

Dinosaur thank you letter.

A thank you letter from Violet.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

Jack explained in his letter that Tyrannosaurus rex could have been a hunter as well as a scavenger.  Kelsey asked if drift wood a fossil?  Drift wood that you find on the beach is not a fossil, but if it gets buried in the sand then it can be fossilised.  At Everything Dinosaur, we have lots of fossils of plants and trees, the oldest of which are around 360 million years old.  Laura wrote to say that she enjoyed holding the fossils and learning about bones.

Archie’s Very Colourful Prehistoric Animal Drawings

Colourful dinosaurs.

We received lots of colourful dinosaurs from Year 5/6.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

Kai wanted to know what was the fiercest dinosaur?  That, is quite a difficult question to answer.  The meat-eating dinosaurs belong to a group called the Theropoda, the big carnivores were very dangerous, but some of the smaller, carnivorous dinosaurs, if they were around today, would probably have wanted to add Year 5/6 pupils to their diet.  Perhaps the children can look up dinosaurs such as Saurornitholestes and Atrociraptor and produce a poster with lots of dinosaur facts.  Our thanks to Kaya for including a picture of a marine reptile in the thank you letter that we received.  Charlie sent us a beautiful spotted long-necked dinosaur and described the morning of activities as “awesome”, whilst Cameron enjoyed learning about Megalodon and Evie wanted us to come back and visit the class again.

Tyler and His Thank You Letter

Dinosaur letter

Stegosaurus featured in a number of the children’s letters.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

Amazing Posters and Letters Sent in by Year 5/6

Beautiful dinosaur posters.

Amazing dinosaur posters from Year 5/6.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

A number of the children asked what was our favourite dinosaur?  We have been recently working on a really odd dinosaur called Sciurumimus, which means “squirrel mimic” as when this dinosaur was young, it had a bushy tail just like a squirrel.

Great Writing from the Children Including this Example from Jayden

Thank you letter from Jayden.

A thank you letter from Jayden.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

Wonderful Examples of Cursive Writing on Display

Year 5 and Year 6 children and their letters to Everything Dinosaur

Cursive writing on display from Year 5/6.

Picture Credit: Streethouse Junior, Infants and Nursery School

“Dinosaur Mike” who had visited the school to conduct the morning workshop with the class, commented:

“I want to say a big thank you to all the children in Year 5/6 at Streethouse Primary.  My colleagues and I enjoyed looking at the posters and reading the letters that were sent in.  Some wonderful hand-writing and great grammar.  Congratulations to you all!”

11 11, 2017

Why Do Asteroids Always Land in Craters? Lesson Plan Idea

By | November 11th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Why Do Asteroids Always Land in Craters?  A Lesson Plan

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy preparing another lesson plan idea linked to the concept of “working scientifically” when it comes to delivering teaching outcomes related to the science elements of the national curriculum for England.  The lesson is aimed at both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 students and asks the question “Why do asteroids always land in craters”?

The Lesson Plan with Teaching Notes for Key Stage 1

Why do asteroids....? Lesson plan and teaching notes.

PDF download of teaching notes/lesson plan is available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Linking to the Dinosaur Extinction Event as well as Space Modules

The dinosaur extinction is linked to a large impact event, in this lesson plan our aim is to encourage the children to work scientifically, experience and observe phenomena, devise and complete simple comparative tests, communicate ideas, observe closely and to use simple equipment to find answers.  This lesson plan relates to both the “dinosaurs” and the “space” term topic.  It should also help young minds to explore everyday materials and describe the simple physical properties of those materials.  One of the factors involved in the extinction event at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs involved an extra-terrestrial object crashing into our planet, so teachers can tie in extinction and the causes of extinction to an extension activity involving the class having to work scientifically to explore what happens when objects fall to Earth.

Two types of lesson plans have been developed, the lesson plan with accompanying teaching notes aimed at Upper Key Stage 2 deals with issues such as animals and their habitats, natural selection, evolution and introduces the idea of the force of gravity.

Essentially, to test this idea of asteroids always landing in craters, the children would have to develop an experiment whereby they drop objects into a substrate and record what happens.

Suggested Resources to be Used to Test the Hypothesis

"Why do asteroids always land in craters?" Suggested resources.

Resources suggested for the “why do asteroids always land in craters?” A lesson plan.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Suggested Resources for the Key Stage 1 Lesson Plan

Here is a list of typical resources suggested to test the idea of asteroids always landing in craters with a Key Stage 1 class.  Essentially, the children need to consider a suitable substrate and to test what happens when objects are dropped into the substrate.

* Tray
* Flour or sand (substrate)
* Objects of various sizes, shapes and weight
* Table covers/newspaper
* Ruler for measuring (optional)
* Paper for making notes (optional)
* Camera to record experiment results (optional)

Outlining the Lesson with the Class

Whilst exploring with the class the idea that the non-avian dinosaurs no longer exist, seek an unprompted definition of the word “extinction”.  Can the class demonstrate further pre-knowledge by explaining about how the dinosaurs died out?  If needed, explain about the space rock impact idea and challenge the children to work out whether asteroids always land in craters or does the impact create the crater?

Can the Children Create Simple Comparative Tests?

Testing the impact of different objects in flour - asteroid impact modellling.

Different objects landing in flour, modelling asteroid impacts.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Extension Ideas – Questions to Ask

What sort of craters do the different objects make?
What makes the larger crater a big object or a small object?
Which makes the deeper crater a heavy object or a light object?
What sort of craters do different shaped objects make?
Does it make a difference if you vary the height from which you drop the objects?
Can the children make a prediction about the size/shape/depth of the crater depending on the object dropped?

In addition, the Key Stage 2 lesson plan and teaching notes asks the class to devise their own experiments to answer the asteroid/always in a crater question.

As a “wow” moment to conclude the lesson plan, try this idea.  Working outside, what happens when a really big object such as a football is dropped into a bucket of flour?  The spraying of flour should provide a suitable memorable moment to help the class remember the key learning points from this simple experiment.

For further advice and ideas about science teaching in school, visit Everything Dinosaur’s “dinosaurs for schools” website: Dinosaurs for Schools

9 11, 2017

Streethouse Primary Study Dinosaurs

By | November 9th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Barbara Hepworth Class (Year 5/6) Focus on Dinosaurs

Another busy week at Everything Dinosaur, with several school visits and projects successfully completed.  Take for example, a recent visit to Year 5/6 at Streethouse Primary in Yorkshire, to provide a provocation for this Key Stage 2 class as they begin their dinosaur and fossil themed topic.  The varied and enriched scheme of work devised by the enthusiastic teaching team will run until the end of this term and Everything Dinosaur was invited to the school to provide a morning of dinosaur and fossil themed activities for the class.

The walls of the tidy and well-organised classroom already featured a number of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed displays.

Posting Up Information About Life in the Past (Upper Key Stage 2)

A dinosaur themed display board.

A colourful dinosaur themed display board.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Barbara Hepworth Class

Year 5/6 at Streethouse Primary are in Barbara Hepworth class, we are confident that this English 20th Century sculptress would be most impressed with the clay prehistoric animal models the children had created.  One of the benefits of a dinosaur themed topic is that it lends itself to all sorts of cross-curricular activities, the children eagerly discussed their models and there were certainly some skilfully crafted replicas on display, even winged dinosaurs!

Barbara Hepworth Class Produce Prehistoric Animal Clay Models

Schoolchildren make clay models of dinosaurs.

Year 5/6 children make clay model dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Answering Questions About Dinosaurs

Prior to the workshop, the children had prepared several questions about prehistoric animals, some of these questions along with answers researched by the children had been posted up around the classroom.  The Everything Dinosaur workshop leader incorporated a number of questions into the morning of activities helping to support the children’s learning.

Year 5/6 Compile Questions About Life in the Past

How did birds evolve from extinct dinosaurs?

How did birds evolve if the dinosaurs all got wiped out?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The above question links in nicely to some of the science curriculum areas associated with Year 6, fortunately, our dinosaur expert had brought plenty of resources with him to help the class explore in a little more detail the evolutionary relationship between avian and non-avian dinosaurs (birds and dinosaurs).

Why Does Tyrannosaurus rex Have Tiny Arms?

Another question, this time, raised by the class teacher, asked why does T. rex have tiny arms compared to the rest of its body?  That’s a very challenging question, that ironically had just been covered in a recent presentation delivered to the annual conference of the Geological Society of America.  A cast of a T. rex manual ungual (claw bone) came in handy to help explain that this latest theory suggests that the short arms of Tyrannosaurus rex were very effective weapons for slashing prey at close quarters.

Why does Tyrannosaurus rex have small arms.

Why does T. rex have tiny arms compared to the rest of his body?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see our recent article on the “slashing T. rex” idea: Tiny T. rex Arms Built for Slashing Prey

All to soon, our morning of dinosaur and fossil themed activities came to an end.  However, there was still time to set a couple of extension exercises for the class and to admire the partially complete “Jurassic landscape” that the children had been making.  The class will be using ModRoc (plaster of Paris modelling materials), to create a prehistoric scene, all helping to reinforce learning about animals and their habitats.  We use similar materials when protecting fossils in the field prior to their full removal.  We look forward to seeing the finished dinosaur diorama.

Barbara Hepworth Class are Creating a Prehistoric Landscape

Key Stage 2 build a prehistoric landscape.

Making a prehistoric landscape.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To the conclude the morning, the children sang a song all about being a palaeontologist, they even managed to pronounce the word “Pachycephalosaurus” correctly – well done to all!

3 11, 2017

Squirrels and Hedgehogs Study Dinosaurs

By | November 3rd, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 1 Learn About Dinosaurs, Fossils and Mary Anning

It was a busy morning for the Year 1 children in Squirrels and Hedgehogs classes at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary as they explored dinosaurs and fossils as part of a term topic all about prehistoric animals and life in the past.  The dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team had put together a challenging and varied scheme of work and a visit from Everything Dinosaur was included to provide a provocation and help kick-start the learning by having a special “wow day” for the children.

The classes had covered simple food webs in a previous topic and the teachers and the Learning Support Assistants were keen to reinforce learning about the differences between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.  In the colourful classroom, a three-dimensional dinosaur had been made, providing an appropriate centrepiece for the children’s work as they explored “Planet Dinosaur”.

A Carnivorous Dinosaur on Display

A 3-D dinosaur on display.

A three-dimensional dinosaur on display in the Year 1 classroom.

Picture Credit: Year 1 Stanwell Fields C of E Primary

Learning About Mary Anning

Within the history area of the national curriculum, (programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2), pupils are encouraged to learn about the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.  Mary Anning, provides a very good role model, especially for girls, when it comes to learning about pioneering fossil hunters.  The story of Mary Anning and the “sea shells on the sea shore”, provides lots of cross-curricular links and one of the teaching team at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary, even dressed up as Mary Anning at the start of the term topic.  During our workshop, we discussed this famous Dorset fossil hunter and the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge.  The various fossils we spotted in the rocks and minerals box in the well-maintained and orderly resources room will provide extra stimulus for the eager young palaeontologists.  The Everything Dinosaur team member supplied lots of additional learning materials and we have produced a number of lesson plans and data sheets for teachers that feature Mary Anning.

Famous Fossil Hunter Mary Anning

Mary Anning Poster

Mary Anning makes an excellent role model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With the school hall occupied, the dinosaurs and fossils were confined to a classroom for the duration of the morning.  However, with the partition doors open, there  was plenty of space and this gave our team member the opportunity to admire the various displays on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.  The well-appointed and tidy classroom was a credit to the school.

Ready to Start Moving Tables Prior to the Dinosaur and Fossil Workshop

A spacious Year 1 classroom.

Spacious classroom being made ready for a dinosaur workshop.

Picture Credit: Year 1 Stanwell Fields C of E Primary

Synonyms and Antonyms

As part of the children’s vocabulary development, the teaching staff had been covering the use of synonyms (words that have the same meaning) and antonyms (words that have the opposite meaning).  When it came to challenging the children to describe the ammonite fossils, our workshop leader encouraged the children to provide a synonym for the word “big”.  There were lots of suggestions, “huge”, “massive” and “gigantic” being readily offered up by the eager, young palaeontologists.

All too soon, the morning of activities with the two classes had to be concluded as it was time for lunch.  However, once the tables had been put back in their place there was still time to hear about the lesson plan for the afternoon that had been prepared – making salt dough fossils.  Our dinosaur expert suggested that the children could roll up the dough creating spirals and make their own ammonites.

One thing is for sure, the children in Year 1 at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary have an exciting and enriching term topic to look forward to completing.

15 10, 2017

Frankfurt Book Fair 2017

By | October 15th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Education and Life-long Learning at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

Everything Dinosaur team members found lots of inspiring ideas at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair.  This huge event, showcasing the world of publishing, attracted some 286,000 visitors over the course of the five days that it was held.  Exhibitors from over one hundred countries took part, it was a good job the event organisers had taken so much care and attention over the site layout, despite there being so much to see and do, congestion in the halls was kept to a minimum.

Visitors Attending the 2017 Frankfurter Buchmesse

Visitors to the trade fair.

286,000 visitors attended the 2017 Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Relaxed and Friendly Atmosphere

The spacious walk ways between the stands and exhibition areas, gave Everything Dinosaur team members the opportunity to peruse several displays and to get to grips with some of the latest teaching innovations.  Having heeded the advice of the event organisers, our pull along cabin cases were left in the hotel, this enabled us to pass through the numerous security checks quite quickly.  This was appreciated, as once again, there were so many stands and sectors on our “to do” list.

One of the sectors visited, was the area of the show dedicated to education – the “Hot Spot Education” zone.  It was easy to find and well sign-posted.  Once there, team members were able to look at the latest whiteboard technology and other classroom based interactive teaching hardware.

A Visit to the “Hot Spot Education” Area was a Highlight of the Exhibition

A section dedicated to the educational sector.

The “Education Hot Spot” area.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

“Hot Spot Education”

Lots of innovative teaching technologies were on display, alongside more traditional teaching methods all aimed at inspiring teachers and pupils alike.  It was pleasing to see a number of exhibitors tackling the special education needs market and Everything Dinosaur staff enjoyed trying out some of the kinaesthetic themed teaching materials as well as the digital technologies such as the VR (virtual reality) goggles.  The “Hot Spot Education” zone provided lots of inspiring ideas and insights, particularly when it came to the latest trends in learning aids.

“Professional and Scientific Information Hot Spot”

Located in the same hall as the education zone, the “professional and scientific information hot spot” catered for the needs of academics and librarians.  There were lots of specialist texts to peruse and an astounding number of academic publications to review, on just about every subject that we could think of.  These areas were certainly very vibrant and we enjoyed examining a number of new publications, particularly those orientated towards the English national curriculum and the concept of working scientifically.  During our, all too brief visit, we even found several books on prehistoric animals.  We just couldn’t help ourselves, we had to sit down in one of the many handy seating areas and indulge in our passion for reading about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric life.

A Dinosaur Book on Display

Dinosaur Books at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

A dinosaur book spotted at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

11 10, 2017

Education a “Hot Spot” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

By | October 11th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

“Hot Spot Education” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

Today, sees the start of the annual Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair), regarded by many teachers and educationalists as the most important trade fair for books, publishing and digital media.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur will be attending and we are excited to see (and hear about), the latest developments in the publishing world.  This huge international event has attracted over seven thousand exhibitors from over one hundred countries and during the course of the next five days, the Frankfurter Buchmesse will bring over a quarter of a million visitors to Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt Book Fair Starts Today

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017

The Frankfurt Book Fair opens today.

Picture Credit: Frankfurt Book Fair

Education a Priority

Once again, education and learning take priority at the Frankfurt Book Fair, with many hundreds of exhibitors supporting the education sector in attendance.  For those visitors with an interest in education, be they teachers, those who school at home or education practitioners, check out the “Hot Spot Education” zone in Hall 4.2.  This part of the exhibition is dedicated to looking at innovations in the fields of teaching and learning aids.  The focus is on how digital products and services are changing the classroom, expect plenty of opportunities to try out the latest whiteboards and e-learning solutions.

The “Hot Spot Education” Brings Together Buyers and Suppliers

The Educational Hot Spot at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

A focus on education at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Picture Credit: Frankfurt Book Fair

The use of digital technology is a day-to-day reality for teachers in all parts of the school system, from pre-school and nursery right up to university and further education.  The Frankfurt Book Fair organisers promise that the “Hot Spot Education” area will provide a platform for displaying new products and teaching services.  Company stands will feature the latest interactive learning tools and the latest whiteboards and whiteboard software.  In addition, visitors can expect to hear from technology hardware providers that support this sector and to meet consultants who can assist with digital service provision.  The special educational needs (SEN) market is particularly strongly represented.

We all like to learn whilst having fun.  Whilst visiting this part of the huge exhibition, check out the stands that feature game developers and those companies that support a range of products to help inspire and enthuse young minds through active play.

4 09, 2017

PNSO Pictures Pushes Pinterest Beyond 14,000

By | September 4th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|1 Comment

Everything Dinosaur Has 14,000 Pins on Pinterest

With the setting up of a special Pinterest board dedicated to the excellent Age of Dinosaurs range from PNSO, Everything Dinosaur has smashed through the 14,000 pins benchmark on this social media platform.  Everything Dinosaur’s presence on Pinterest is dedicated to pictures of prehistoric animals and fossils as well as images of all the amazing dinosaur themed products in the company’s extensive portfolio.  With the introduction of the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs range in August (August 2017), a new Pinterest board was created to accommodate images of this model series and this, along with the addition of several new blog articles, pushed the total number of pins on the site beyond 14,000.

A Total of 37 Images on the PNSO Pinterest Board Posted Up by Everything Dinosaur

A selection of PNSO prehistoric animal models.

A selection of the PNSO prehistoric animal toys.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Sixty Pinterest Boards

The Pinterest pins are spread out over a total of sixty Pinterest Boards, covering subjects as diverse as human evolution, crocodiles/crocodilians and Pterosaurs.  The board entitled “Fossils”, which incorporates more than fifteen hundred pictures of various fossils from museum collections and excavation sites, rivals the fossil collection of a small regional museum in its diversity.  The board entitled “Dinosaurs for Schools” in conjunction with the board that highlights the articles posted up on our special teaching blog: Dinosaurs for Schools has a total of 874 pins posted.  These provide a valuable educational resource for teachers and teaching assistants.  There is even a board that provides images of fearsome “Terror Birds”, otherwise known as members of the Phorusrhacidae family, a group of large, flightless, carnivorous birds that were the apex predators in South America until the migration of members of the Carnivora into South America just a few million years ago.

Terror Birds (Phorusrhacids) Feature on Everything Dinosaur’s Pinterest Boards

A drawing of Kelenken

The Kelenken in all its glory (Terror Bird).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The image above depicting a Terror Bird is typical of the many prehistoric animal drawings that get sent into our offices.   Everything Dinosaur team members also post up pictures of the numerous dinosaur drawings we receive each week, so far, the Pinterest Board named “Dinosaur Drawings etc” has nearly 850 pins on it.

To view Everything Dinosaur on the Pinterest platform: Everything Dinosaur on Pinterest

A spokesperson for the UK-based dinosaur company stated:

“There are many stunning visuals associated with palaeontology.  Not only are there the amazing fossils to photograph and document, but many scientific papers these days are accompanied by life reconstructions of the animals the fossils represent.  It is great to be able to utilise a platform such as Pinterest where we can post up these images, not only illustrations from professional palaeoartists but also from schoolchildren as well.”

To view the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs model range at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs

Pins Providing Ideas for School Lessons and Educational Programmes are Popular

Pinterest pins help schools.

A pin on pronation helping to explain how our joints are different from the joints of dinosaurs.  A simple exercise using hands to help reinforce learning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 

20 08, 2017

A Thank You Letter from Thomas

By | August 20th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Thank You Thomas for your Thank You Letter

Our thanks to Thomas for sending in to the Everything Dinosaur offices a lovely letter to thank us for our recent visit to his school.  The letter got lost in the huge pile (dinosaur-sized), of correspondence and we are sorry but we did not find it until yesterday.

A Thank You Letter to Everything Dinosaur

Thomas sent in a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur.

A thank you letter sent in to Everything Dinosaur by Thomas.

Picture Credit: Thomas (Year 2)

Dinosaur Workshops in School

After delivering a dinosaur workshop at Thomas’s school we set an extension exercise that involved the excited pupils writing a thank you letter to our dinosaur expert.  For some reason, the letter from Thomas must have become detached from those of his classmates.  Not to worry, better late than never, we have published the letter today and emailed the teacher to let her know that the earlier omission of the letter from this eager, young palaeontologist has been rectified.

Thank you once again Thomas.

21 07, 2017

A Guide to the CollectA Mini Prehistoric Marine Animals Set

By | July 21st, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

A Guide to the CollectA Mini Prehistoric Marine Animals Set

With CollectA having introduced another set of miniature figures into their “Prehistoric Life” model series, team members at Everything Dinosaur thought it would prove helpful to model makers if they listed the twelve replicas within the new CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals set.  This information might be helpful to creators of prehistoric animal dioramas so that they can put the correct model within the context of the geological time period that they are trying to replicate.

The New for 2017 CollectA Mini Prehistoric Marine Animals Set

The CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals.

The CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals set.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Mini Prehistoric Marine Animals Contents and Details

The twelve replicas that make up this set are certainly an eclectic bunch.  The model set consists of six vertebrates and six invertebrates.  We have listed them in alphabetical order and provided some details about the prehistoric animal each replica represents.

  • Archelon – known from Upper Cretaceous deposits (Campanian faunal stage), of the United States.  One of the largest turtles known to science, it lived approximately 80 million years ago in the Western Interior Seaway.  Archelon means “ruling turtle”.
  • Australiceras –  known from Australia (Queensland), fossils of this ammonite have been found in Early Cretaceous rocks (Aptian faunal stage 125 – 112 million years ago).  The name translates as “southern horn”.
  • Baculites – a straight shelled member of the Ammonite Order from the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian faunal stage to the Maastrichtian).   This mollusc had a worldwide distribution, but most of the named species are associated with the Campanian faunal stage of the Western Interior Seaway.  The name translates as “walking stick rock”.
  • Cameroceras –  a giant member of the Orthocones (Cephalopoda – related to squid, cuttlefish, octopi and ammonites). It evolved in the mid Ordovician some 470 million years ago and was widespread. One the largest molluscs to have ever lived, size estimates of around six to nine metres have been stated.  These giants, survived into the Silurian, although the end Ordovician extinction did dramatically reduce the number of genera.  The last Cameroceras died out around 430 million years ago.  The name translates as “chambered horn”.
  • Diplomoceras –  a large Late Cretaceous ammonite with a bizarrely shaped shell.  Diplomoceras had a world-wide distribution and the very biggest individuals had shell lengths (unwound) of more than three metres.  The name translates as “double horn”.
  • Dunkleosteus – a giant Placoderm fish from the Late Devonian (370-360 million years ago).  Fossils are known from North America, Morocco, Belgium and Poland.  Dunkleosteus may have reached lengths of around ten metres.  The name translates as “Dunkles bones”, honouring Dr David Dunkle (Cleveland Museum of Natural History).
  • Leedsichthys – possibly the largest fish that has ever lived, with some scientists estimating the size of Leesdichthys at over 22 metres.  This leviathan lived during the Middle Jurassic and fossils have been found in England, France, Germany and Chile.  The name translates as “Leeds’s fish” and honours the British palaeontologist Alfred Leeds.
  • Parapuzosia – a genus of giant ammonite from the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian to Campanian faunal stages).  Most fossil shells are less than one metre in diameter but a few specimens have been found with shells in excess of three metres wide.  World-wide distribution.  The name translates as “near to Puzosia”, reflecting its taxonomic affinity to the genus Puzosia.
  • Pliosaurus – A genus of Late Jurassic (155 to 147 million years ago), marine reptile.  A hypercarnivore and apex predator growing to more than ten metres in length.  The name translates as “more lizard” and this model makes a great representation of a juvenile.
  • Temnodontosaurus – known from the Early Jurassic (200-189 million years ago), of Europe.  This member of the Ichthyosauria grew to around ten metres long and probably weighed between one and two tonnes.  The name translates as “cutting-tooth lizard”.
  • Trilobite – an extinct group of Arthropods that were entirely marine and lived from the Early Cambrian to the end-Permian extinction event (545 million to 251 million years ago).  Numerous Phyla have been identified and something like 20,000 species have been named and described.  Trilobita were ubiquitous and have a world-wide distribution.  The name translates as “three-lobed” as these invertebrates had three distinctive parts that made up their body plan.  The model represents the genus Olenoides, known from the Cambrian of Canada (Burgess Shale).
  • Xiphactinus –  one of the largest known bony fish, reaching lengths of up to six metres.  Fossils are known from Upper Cretaceous deposits of North America (Western Interior Seaway), but fossils of this predatory fish have also been reported from Australia.  Xiphactinus lived from approximately 88 to 66 million years ago.  The name translates as “sword ray”.

The CollectA Mini Prehistoric Marine Animals Set

CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals set.

The CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals set.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last year, when Everything Dinosaur announced that CollectA was introducing this innovative model set, we were able to have a chat to the designer Anthony Beeson.

Anthony told us:

“These are of course, not to scale but can be used in play and dioramas along with our other models as immature animals where we have already produced models of the same species.  The new models include the giant ammonite Parapuzosia and the little trilobite Olenoides serratus and other prehistoric fish and cephalopods that I thought might be enjoyable and educational.  I always particularly liked the elegantly uncurled Australiceras after coming across fossils at Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight.”

To view the CollectA mini prehistoric marine animals set and the rest of the CollectA “Prehistoric Life” model range: CollectA Prehistoric Life

17 07, 2017

Dinosaurs of China Exhibition Reviewed

By | July 17th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|6 Comments

A Review of the Dinosaurs of China Exhibition by Thomas Clarke-Williams

Budding young palaeontologist and all-round dinosaur enthusiast Thomas, very kindly sent in a review with photographs of The Dinosaurs of China exhibition to Everything Dinosaur.

Thomas Outside the Splendid Wollaton Hall

Thomas Clarke-Williams at Wollaton Hall.

Thomas, all ready to explore the Dinosaurs of China exhibition.

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

Here is his review….

The Dinosaurs of China exhibition, at Wollaton Hall and Nottingham Lakeside Arts is an amazing, informative, fun, enjoyable and a one-off experience that I highly recommend for all ages.  I particularly enjoyed the Mamenchisaurus and Sinraptor skeletons as they give you a fantastic insight to how big some dinosaurs really were.  It was a nice touch to add a mirror next to the towering display so people can become fully immersed with the size of the whole animal.  I also like how you can go up to the banisters and look down on most of the Mamenchisaurus and the Sinraptor, it adds to the shock and awe of how large these dinosaurs really were.

The Enormous Mamenchisaurus on Display

Mamenchisaurus on display.

The rearing Mamenchisaurus dinosaur exhibit.

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

The art on the walls and in the book, was captivating and amazing to look at.  It helped you to imagine these dinosaurs were alive and moving around, just like they did millions of years ago.  One helpful feature to viewers was the information plaque next to each exhibit.  They included a variety of important facts which were then repeated in the books.

Spectacular Artwork Helps to Bring the Dinosaurs to Life

Artwork by Zhao Chuang (PNSO).

Amazing artwork by Zhao Chuang (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

Something that I did notice is that the Dilophosaurus sinensis and the Alxasaurus are housed in a separate building.  Unfortunately, this separate building is not labelled very clearly in my opinion, and some people, such as myself, missed this part of the exhibition entirely.

Nottingham Lakeside Arts – Well Worth a Visit

All I can say is, when you go, make sure not to miss the Nottingham Lakeside Arts building, it’s well worth visiting.  I also recommend going simply because the exhibition organisers connected the displays at Wollaton Hall with the exhibition displays for a fun experience where you’re constantly switching between modern day and prehistoric times which adds to the experience.  The paleoart used for each exhibit was beautifully done and helps the viewers to see what the dinosaurs may have looked like when they were alive.

Helpful Information Panels Throughout the Exhibition

Confuciuosornis information panel

Helpful and informative display panels throughout the exhibition.

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

The book, which you can pick up and buy from the entrance to the exhibition, is packed with detail and amazing art of the creatures.  The front cover shows the world where Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus lived, which gives a great insight into the lives of dinosaurs right from the start.  Some of the really in-depth facts are missed but it’s only minor as the average person does not need to know all the “nitty gritty stuff” like how a type specimen of Dilong is possibly a juvenile, or the fact that Linheraptor is actually smaller than Velociraptor.  But these minor details are insignificant to the overall presentation of the exhibition.

Birds from the Mesozoic

Using Chinese and Asian Dinosaurs is, in my opinion, the best way of getting people to understand how dinosaurs evolved into birds, as many of the dinosaurs at the exhibition have feathers and some could even glide.  I also like the inclusion of three Mesozoic-aged birds Yanornis, Confuciusornis and Protopteryx.  A pterosaur (Wukongopterus), was used to show the differences between the two lineages.

Genuine Fossil of a Prehistoric Bird

Yanornis fossil on display.

A genuine fossil of a Cretaceous bird (Yanornis martini).

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

Another useful feature that was included on both the information boards, and in the book, tells you how to pronounce the names.  For example, “Yi qi” is pronounce ‘ee chee’.  Another helpful feature was the inclusion of what the name actually means.  A point that may prove interesting to viewers is the comparison on the wall and in the book of some of the Chinese dinosaurs to some American and European dinosaurs.  The fact that Lufengosaurus is included helps people viewing the exhibition to get a good view of where titans such as Mamenchisaurus came from, the dinosaurs they used to dwarf, and it makes you wonder how a 5 to 9-metre-long dinosaur turned into a 23-metre-long one!

Towering Over You the Giant Mamenchisaurus Skeleton

Mamenchisaurus on display.

The head and neck of the immense Mamenchisaurus.

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

More Theropod Dinosaurs Please

Personally, I would have liked for a wider selection of dinosaurs to be on display but that’s just me!  I would have liked the awesome and terrifying Yutyrannus and Sinotyrannus to have been there together as they are large, fearsome, but interesting and in the case of Yutyrannus, beautifully feathered.  Both Chinese tyrants would have made for an excellent exhibit with the two locked in a fierce rivalry with one another.  It would have also been cool if Therizinosaurus made an appearance too, since he is quite popular with his huge claws that would have made for another amazing exhibit.  The theme used for the event sums up what the exhibition is about perfectly, “Ground shakers to feathered flyers”, the transition between prehistoric dinosaurs into modern day ones.  The inclusion of the fake Archaeoraptor fossil is a fun learning experience showing what some people are capable of doing to fossils.  The fake fossil has the tail of Microraptor, the legs of
an unknown animal, and the head and body of a Yanornis, a complete hybrid!

In conclusion, The Dinosaurs of China Exhibition was a great, amazing and enjoyable learning experience for the whole family to enjoy and immerse themselves in and a one-off experience too.  To miss the exhibition would be a real shame, so come to Nottingham to Wollaton Hall and Nottingham Lakeside Arts as fast as you can to meet some of the amazing dinosaurs of Mesozoic China before it’s too late!

Meet Some Amazing Dinosaurs!

Sinraptor - Theropod dinosaur.

The powerful jaws of Sinraptor.

Picture Credit: Thomas Clarke-Williams

Written by: Thomas Clarke-Williams

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