Children Investigate Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals as Part of Their Autumn Term Studies

For Year 1 children (ages 5-6) at Pennyhill Primary, the autumn term topic has been all about dinosaurs, fossils and other prehistoric animals.   Under the enthusiastic tutelage of the school’s teaching team the children have been learning about when dinosaurs lived, what sorts of dinosaurs were there and what dinosaurs ate.  The classrooms were beautifully decorated with lots of examples of artwork, posters and creative writing.  Miss Shuker’s class had been looking at different types of dinosaur and flying reptiles (Pterosaurs).  The children had been busy doing lots of independent research and gathering facts about prehistoric animals.

 

Artwork on Display in Miss Shuker’s Classroom

Colourful dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on display.

Colourful dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on display.

The eager pupils had prepared lots of amazing questions, such as why did some dinosaurs eat meat?  What colour were dinosaurs?  Why were the dinosaurs able to grow so big?  Mr Hayes had converted part of his classroom into a palaeontology laboratory, complete with skeleton models and an assortment of dinosaur facts that the children had collated.  The pupils had even carried out an investigation into why some prehistoric animals had fins and sails on their backs.   One of the prehistoric creatures that the children studied was an animal called Ctenospondylus, not a dinosaur but a sail-backed reptile from a group known as the Pelycosaurs.  Under the guidance of Mr Hayes and the teaching assistants the young palaeontologists had produced a series of colourful prehistoric animal drawings with a figure of a Ctenospondylus also included in the exhibit for good measure.

 

The Palaeontology Laboratory with Ctenospondylus taking Centre Stage

Pupils learn about the shapes and sizes of different prehistoric animals.

Pupils learn about the shapes and sizes of different prehistoric animals.

Mrs Heffernan’s class had also been busy preparing questions as well as creating some very decorative dinosaur illustrations using paper plates.  A paper plate folded in half makes a super template for a dinosaur’s body, the children had come up with all sorts of designs.  Ironically, there is a dinosaur genus called Plateosaurus.  This particular dinosaur lived during the Late Triassic geological period, it was a herbivore.  A number of children were eager to explain the differences between herbivores and carnivores as well as to name one or two examples.  One pupil even explained what omnivores ate, fortunately there was a cast of a Pachycephalosaur jaw bone on hand to show the children the teeth and beak of a dinosaur that is thought by palaeontologists to have been omnivorous.  Looks like this was a very successful dinosaur workshop in school.

With so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable pupils, it seems that dinosaur research in the future is likely to be in robust health.

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