All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
27 10, 2012

The Principle of Preadaptation (KS3 and KS4)

By | October 27th, 2012|Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on The Principle of Preadaptation (KS3 and KS4)

The Principle of Preadaptation

A challenge to the early proponents of natural selection and the theory of evolution was the criticism that this concept was flawed as natural selection could not explain how the earliest stages of useful structures formed.  Darwin himself, commented on how the fossil record was inadequate when it came to looking for evidence to support his theory on the origins of species.  How could major biological adaptations get started?  How did complex eyes evolve?  What good is a asymmetrical wing on an organism when it is only 2% evolved?

The Principle of Preadaptation

Darwin proposed that a feature would perhaps have evolved for one purpose that in retrospect would turn out to be highly advantageous in any changed circumstances.  A feature once performed a quite different role in ancestors, but was, by serendipity, well suited for transformation to serve another function, especially under new circumstances.

The evolution of feathers, a trait first identified in the Dinosauria is an illustration of this.  Feathers are highly modified reptilian scales.  In some members of a reptilian population, scaly outgrowths, over-sized scales may have served some other function, perhaps to help cool the animal, or to signal (visual display) or perhaps for insulation, trapping warm air close to the body.  Even the smallest scaly outgrowths may have conveyed some advantage.  Individuals within the population the possessed the trait for these outgrowths would have had a slight advantage over other member of the species.  As a result, more of these traits were passed onto the next generation through these individuals living long enough mature and breed.  Over many generations, longer and longer scales may have been actively selected, thus leading over time to the evolution of feathers as insulating structures or display organs.

The Evolution of Feathers in the Dinosauria

The evolution of feathers, first for display/insulation then later for flight.

The evolution of feathers, first for display/insulation then later for flight.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A secondary flight function would have evolved by natural selection later.

27 10, 2012

Dinosaurs Help Young School Children with their Sentence Construction

By | October 27th, 2012|Educational Activities, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Exploring Feelings Using Dinosaurs

For reception/foundation stage school children, one of the challenges can be getting to grips with sentence construction and expressing thoughts and feelings in words.  As many young children love dinosaurs and all things to do with the Dinosauria, these long extinct creatures can help when it comes to their educational development.

Within the mandatory framework for the education and development of children in the United Kingdom from birth to five years of age, as set out by the Department of Education, there are key objectives for teachers and educationalists to try to attain.  For example, educational activities must involve programmes that give children opportunities to experience a rich language environment and to develop confidence when it comes to expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.  In addition, an important cornerstone of early years development is literacy.

Dinosaurs can help children in these areas as teachers encourage their charges to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write.  At this age it is important to think of materials that can enable children to explore and share their own thoughts and feelings, their ideas and moods through a variety of different media.

At Everything Dinosaur, our team members have created dinosaur drawings with speech bubbles in a bid to motivate children from four years and upwards to express themselves and develop sentence writing skills.

Stegosaurus Helps with Sentence Construction

A typical teaching resource provided by Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows one of our typical dinosaur themed educational resources.  This A4 sized document illustrates a Stegosaurus with a person next to it to show scale.  The dinosaur can be coloured in by the child and then their thoughts can turn to what the Stegosaurus might be thinking or saying.  It is their job to express the thoughts and feelings of the Stegosaurus using their sentence construction skills.  The name of the dinosaur is included, plus a handy pronunciation guide and the actual meaning of the prehistoric animal’s name.  Team members supply a variety of such dinosaur themed resources, all aimed at helping young children develop and learn.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Teaching professionals must consider the individual needs and interests of the children in their class.  Many children at reception/foundation stage already have a fascination for dinosaurs and so dinosaur themed activities can be used to create challenging and enjoyable learning experiences”.

With the likes of Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex already well known to most children of school age, it can help to utilise their love of dinosaurs in creative ways allowing key early years and foundation stage learning objectives to be achieved.

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