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.

26 01, 2017

Gigantosaurus – You Mean Giganotosaurus?

By | January 26th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|2 Comments

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.

17 01, 2017

Young Explorers at Ansdell Primary

By | January 17th, 2017|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

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

13 01, 2017

Key Stage 1 Study Dinosaurs

By | January 13th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

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

12 01, 2017

Year 5 and Year 6 Explore Deep Time

By | January 12th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

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.

9 12, 2016

Year 2/3 Children Design Dinosaurs

By | December 9th, 2016|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

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

1 12, 2016

Year 2/3 Send in Thank You Letters

By | December 1st, 2016|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

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.

29 11, 2016

Carrfield Primary Academy and Dinosaurs

By | November 29th, 2016|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Key Stage 1 Study Dinosaurs, Volcanoes and Fossils

Children in the three Key Stage 1 classes at Carrfield Primary Academy (south Yorkshire), have spent the second half of the autumn term learning all about dinosaurs, volcanoes and fossils.  Working with the Cornerstones curriculum, the dedicated teaching team have been exploring all things prehistoric under the “Dinosaur Planet” scheme of work.  The well-appointed and tidy classrooms have lots of amazing dinosaur themed examples of the children’s work on display.  In class 1HJ, the budding young palaeontologists have been learning about bones and parts of the body by creating their very own dinosaur skeletons.

Dinosaur Skeletons on Display

Year 1 make dinosaur skeletons from drinking straws.

Carefully crafted dinosaur skeletons on display in a Year 1 classroom.

Picture Credit: Carrfield Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Outside of the Year 1 classroom, the teaching team have posted up “dinosaur fact flaps” featuring a massive Brachiosaurus, the plant-eating horned dinosaur Triceratops and the tiny, feathered meat-eater Microraptor.  Some excellent examples of non-fiction writing accompany the informative dinosaur posters.

Class 1HJ Posted Up Lots of Dinosaur Information

Class 1HJ and their dinosaur posters.

Dinosaur facts and figures posted up by the Year 1 class at Carrfield Primary Academy.

Picture Credit: Carrfield Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Explorers in Class 1/2LD

Under the inspiration tutelage of the teaching team, the children in the mixed Year 1/2 class have been creating dinosaur themed story maps all about their favourite prehistoric animals.  We hope the tongue-twister we provided on the famous fossil hunter Mary Anning inspires the children to write their own prehistoric animal themed poetry.

Lots of Schematic Story Maps on Display in the 1/2LD Classroom

Dinosaur themed schematic story maps on display.

Schematic story maps are a great way to check understanding and learning.

Picture Credit: Carrfield Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Being able to demonstrate evidence of learning as the children progress through a term topic is extremely important.   These schematic story maps are a great way to check understanding and to test the children’s ability to recall information.  Outside in the corridor, the pupils in 1/2LD have been looking at baby dinosaurs and studying dinosaur eggs.  Paper mâché models of the eggs of dinosaurs had been created and if you look inside, you can see the baby dinosaurs waiting to hatch.

Key Stage 1 Children Look at Dinosaur Eggs

Dinosaur egg arts and crafts by KS1.

“Out of the Egg” display by Year 1/2 children.

Picture Credit: Carrfield Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

The paper mâché models certainly made an “egg-citing” display.  The children had also constructed volcanoes out of plastic bottles and paper mâché.  Mums, dads, grandparents and guardians had been invited into the school to help the volcanoes erupt!

Year 2 Combine Learning About Three-Dimensional Shapes with Dinosaur Studies

The teacher in Year 2 with the help of the enthusiastic teaching assistants had been explaining about three-dimensional shapes.  The challenge set was could the class create a Tyrannosaurus rex out of cylinders, cubes and cones?

A 3-D Tyrannosaurus rex on Display Outside of 2CN Classroom

A 3-D model of a dinosaur in school.

A three-dimensional dinosaur helps children to learn about spheres, cylinders, cubes and cones.

Picture Credit: Carrfield Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

The children made some three-dimensional dinosaur teeth out of clay, they could compare their clay teeth to the dinosaur teeth we showed the children in the workshop.  What sort of three-dimensional shapes are the teeth of dinosaurs?

We provided lots of extension ideas and suggestions plus some extra resources to help the teachers with their lesson plans as they bring this exciting dinosaur themed topic, a topic that has been thoroughly enjoyed by the teaching team as well as the children, to a conclusion.

19 11, 2016

Exploring Life in the Past with Year 2/3

By | November 19th, 2016|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaurs and Fossils with Year 2/3

For the children in the three classes of Year 2/3 at Pebble Brook Primary School, the autumn term has been dedicated to learning all about prehistoric life.  Over the last eight weeks or so, the dedicated teaching team have introduced a wide range of cross-curricular activities all linked to learning about dinosaurs, prehistoric animals and the Stone Age.  As part of the challenging scheme of work that had been devised, the children were asked to make a dinosaur themed model over the half-term break.  A member of the Everything Dinosaur team visiting the school had the opportunity to view some of the amazing dinosaurs and prehistoric scenes the children had created.

On Display Outside the Year 2/3 Classrooms – Prehistoric Scenes

Dinosaurs on display.

Dinosaur and prehistoric scenes outside the classrooms.

Picture Credit: Pebble Brook Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

The collection of prehistoric landscapes and dinosaur dioramas made a very attractive exhibit and several of the children’s models were used in a special assembly following our dinosaur and fossil workshop.  The Year 2/3 children presented some of the fascinating facts that they had learned about dinosaurs to other classes as well as the mums and dads.

A Very Sparkly Dinosaur Created as a Half-term Project

A very sparkly armoured dinosaur.

A very sparkly armoured dinosaur spotted in Year 2/3 AP classroom.

Picture Credit: Pebble Brook Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

The well-appointed classrooms highlighted lots of fiction and non-fiction writing exercises and each of the three classrooms had a special “wow wall” with a wonderful dinosaur and Stone Age people illustration surrounded by lots of topic themed words to help the budding young palaeontologists expand their vocabularies.

Prehistoric theme for a special topic about life in the past.

A colourful dinosaur and cavemen display board.

Picture Credit: Pebble Brook Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Carnivores, Omnivores and Herbivores

The children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge and they enthusiastically explained the foods that carnivores, omnivores and herbivores ate, all linking nicely into that part of the Year 2 science programme in the English national curriculum that relates to living things and their habitats.  In addition, the Year 3 children enjoyed learning about the properties of fossils, which dove-tails into the lower Key Stage 2 science programme that covers soils, rocks and fossils.

Exploring Life in the Past

Dinosaurs and cavemen.

A Dinosaur and cavemen themed display board.

Picture Credit: Pebble Brook Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

All three classes would be getting to grips with the use of rulers for measuring in the very near future, the extension activity we provided which involves measuring and comparing the footprints of different dinosaurs should work well with the teaching team’s lesson plans.  The dinosaur coprolite certainly proved to be very popular and it helped reinforce the children’s learning after they had examined some “dinosaur poo” in a previous classroom activity.

Mini “Jurassic Worlds” on Display

Colourful dinosaur scenes.

Several prehistoric scenes on display outside the classroom.

Picture Credit: Pebble Brook Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

All too soon, it was time to leave the enthusiastic pupils and their dedicated teachers.  However, we did set the children a special challenge.  As they had lots of questions and since we were unable to address them all during the day, it was suggested that the children could write into our office or email us and we would do our best to provide them with answers.  This provided yet another non-fiction writing activity for the children to undertake, as well as giving the teachers the opportunity to explore the differences between writing a letter and sending an email with their pupils.

3 11, 2016

Dinosaurs at Anfield Road Primary School

By | November 3rd, 2016|Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 2 Tackle Dinosaurs

It was a busy day for High Flyers, Bright Sparks and Whizz Kids, the three classes in Year 2 at Anfield Road Primary yesterday.  The children had just started their term topic “Can you Walk with Dinosaurs?” as well as having just moved into their brand-new classrooms.

The enthusiastic teaching team had prepared for the dinosaur and fossil themed workshop delivered by Everything Dinosaur, by helping the children to explore what they already knew about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, part of a teaching method, we refer to as KWL – what children know?  What they would like to know and what have they learned at the end of the topic?  This is a great way to start a term topic and the outcomes from this class exercise can provide an invaluable guide to planning the scheme of work.

The children in High Flyers class had used cut-outs of Triceratops (during our workshop we explored the chin of a Triceratops), to write down what they know about dinosaurs.  Lots of amazing pre-knowledge being demonstrated and plenty of room on the spacious display wall for lots of other dinosaur related facts.

What Do We Know About Dinosaurs? (High Flyers)

What do we know about dinosaurs?

Children explore what they know about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Anfield Road Primary/Everything Dinosaur

A Dinosaur World Ready for Creative, Imaginative Play (Bright Sparks)

A dinosaur display in the classroom.

A prehistoric park ready for creative, imaginative play in the classroom.

Picture Credit: Anfield Road Primary/Everything Dinosaur

The teacher in the Bright Sparks classroom had helped the children create a miniature dinosaur world.   This is a great way of helping the children to work out what resources animals need to survive and no doubt this mini “Jurassic Park” will inspire the children when it comes to fiction and non-fiction writing.  Over the course of the day, our dinosaur expert met a number of children who had names quite similar to the names of some dinosaurs.  We challenged the children to design their own dinosaur, labelling the body parts (especially the skull).  Could they come up with a name for their new dinosaur?

Morgan and Morganucodon

During one of our dinosaur workshops we met a little boy called Morgan.  He explained that a big asteroid hit the Earth and that helped wipe out the dinosaurs.  Morgan and all his friends showed great listening skills and they joined in all the exercises with tremendous enthusiasm.  Coincidentally, the Everything Dinosaur team member who led the workshops at the school is currently proof reading a new book all about prehistoric mammals, some of which would have scurried around the feet of dinosaurs.  One of the earliest mammals was a little mouse-sized creature called Morganucodon (pronounced Mor-gan-yew-coe-don), so, especially for Morgan, we have included a picture of this Triassic mammal in our article.

A Picture of Morganucodon For Morgan and His Friends

The Triassic mammal Morganucodon.

An illustration of the Triassic mammal Morganucodon.

For its size, this little mammal had a big brain.  In the dinosaur themed workshop, we challenged the children to test their brains against the brain of the biggest, heaviest armoured dinosaur known to science, just one of the many activities and topic areas covered as we compared people to dinosaurs.

Ready to Display All the Dinosaur Themed Work (Whizz Kids)

Ready to explore a dinosaur themed term topic.

A wall in the classroom ready to display dinosaur themed work.

Picture Credit: Anfield Road Primary/Everything Dinosaur

We had the opportunity to take a quick look around the new classrooms.  The children had just moved into them earlier in the week.  The light, airy and superbly appointed classrooms looked fantastic.  The teaching team and the rest of the dedicated staff at Anfield Road Primary are quite rightly very proud of these new teaching facilities, we look forward to seeing lots of lovely dinosaur themed numeracy and literacy displays posted on the walls of the spacious classrooms.

1 11, 2016

Fossil Hunting at Biddulph Grange

By | November 1st, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Already for the Fossil Hunting at Biddulph Grange

Last Sunday, Everything Dinosaur team members visited Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire as part of the dinosaur themed activities that had been organised at the National Trust property.  Our staff arrived nice and early and set up a fossil hunting activity for the budding young palaeontologists in the specially erected marquee that had been provided.

All Ready for the Fossil Hunting Activity at Biddulph Grange Garden

Everything Dinosaur fossil hunting activity.

Fossil trays laid out at Biddulph Grange Gardens.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the marquee starting to get prepared for all the visitors we were expecting that day.  The event, part of The National Trust’s promotional campaign to raise awareness about the restoration of the unique Geology Gallery at Biddulph Grange, had been sold out for some weeks.  However, on the day itself our dedicated team met up with a number of other visitors to the beautiful gardens and we even gave away some fossils to visitors who had been unaware of the event and “popped into the tent to have a look around”.

Preparing the Tables to Help Identify the Fossils

Everything Dinosaur at Biddulph Grange Gardens 2016.

Fossil trays laid out at Biddulph Grange Gardens.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Giving Away Fossils

We put lots of gravel into the trays on the floor and then carefully added a variety of fossils so that visitors could have a go at spotting fossils amongst the stones.  There were shark teeth, bivalves, brachiopods, fossilised wood, trilobites, ammonites, belemnite guards and even pieces of fossilised bone.  We certainly had a busy day, our early arrival allowed us to get organised and lay out all the helpful fossil identification charts that we had prepared.  We had to keep up topping up the fossil hunting trays, the visitors were finding so many specimens.

The early arrival also allowed Everything Dinosaur team members to visit the partially restored Geology Gallery.  When completed (late spring 2017), the gallery will house many fossils and casts that help explain about prehistoric animals and life in the past.  Mr James Bateman, the former owner of Biddulph Grange and Gardens, built a wonderful gallery dedicated to uniting the ideas of a biblical creation with the newly emerging sciences of geology and palaeontology, scientific ideas that were beginning to take root in the 1860’s.

Day V (Five) in the Geology Gallery

Biddulph Grange Geology Gallery.

Part of the Geology Gallery at Biddulph Grange Gardens, ready for restoration.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the spaces in the walls where the original fossils were housed.  The large, almost triangular space at the top of the photograph was the location of a partial Ichthyosaur skull (Temnodonotosaurus platydon).  Sadly, very little documentation regarding the gallery and its contents have been preserved.  One of the fascinating problems associated with this particular restoration project is trying to work out what fossils went into the various spaces.  Only one of the original fossils remains, a section of Lepidodendron bark with its characteristic diamond shaped leaf scars.

The Lepidodendron Bark Fossil in the Geology Gallery

A piece of fossilised bark (Lepidodendron).

The Lepidodendron fossil (ancient bark).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Although the term Lepidodendron is used to refer to a genus of tree-sized lycopsid, strictly, only the scale bark on the uppermost part of the plant is named Lepidodendron.  Plants are rarely preserved as whole fossils but normally occur as isolated fragments, often representing different parts of the organism, the leaves, roots, trunk, stems, fruiting bodies, flowers and such like.  As these different parts are found separately, each plant tends to get a separate scientific name.  Hence, the roots of this lycophyte are referred to as Stigmaria and the base of the trunk is called Knorria.

Lepidodendron is derived from the Greek, it means “scale tree”, a very apt description for the diamond-shaped leaf scales which can be clearly seen in the Biddulph Grange fossil.

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