Young Palaeontologists at Primary School

It is always a pleasure to visit schools meeting eager young dinosaur fans and to spend some time helping out when the term topic is dinosaurs.  Yesterday, for example, one of our team members got the chance to visit a school where the children in years 3 and 4, under the enthusiastic tutelage of their teachers, were learning all about prehistoric animals.  A number of walls in the classrooms were already decorated with some superb examples of dinosaur inspired artwork, along with a series of maps which showed which types of dinosaurs lived on different continents.  A number of children had carried out independent research and written up their findings combining appropriate sentence construction with a surprisingly astute knowledge of palaeontology.

Clearly the teaching staff supported by the teaching assistants had developed a very creative scheme of work for the delivery of this topic, we were happy to play a small part in what will be an exciting and rewarding topic for the pupils at the school.

Amongst a number of splendid examples of individual work we noticed a poster created by Asad featuring one of his favourite dinosaurs – Brachiosaurus.  Not only was the poster very carefully designed and laid out, the information that it contained demonstrated that this young palaeontologist had researched his chosen dinosaur in remarkable detail.

Asad’s Excellent Poster on Brachiosaurus

An informative research poster on Brachiosaurus created by Asad.

An informative research poster on Brachiosaurus created by Asad.

Picture Credit: Asad Khan

A very colourful poster it is too.  Not only did Asad use the name Brachiosaurus (genus name, often referred to as the generic name), he correctly identified that with the scientific classification of organisms, closely related genera (the plural of genus), are classified into families.    To have a child of around nine years of age using the term Brachiosauridae is very impressive indeed.  The teacher of the class awarded an “A” with five house points and Asad also received a “good work” sticker for his efforts.

Asad demonstrated his subject knowledge by very kindly talking through his poster with the Everything Dinosaur team member as some of the children prepared for lunch.  During our work with this particular class, we were able to update the school children on some of the latest research on members of the Brachiosaur family, introducing the idea of the establishment of a new genus of Brachiosaurid dinosaur – Giraffatitian (G. brancai) representing Brachiosaur specimens excavated from east Africa.

Lots of evidence of the year 3/4 pupils carrying out investigations, using drawings to communicate data,  assessing how animals in a habitat are suited to their environment, food chains, making comparisons, using data handling techniques – excellent academic work.

We managed to answer the questions that the children asked and no doubt both the pupils and the teaching team at the school will enjoy their “Working with Dinosaurs” for the rest of the term.

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