All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
1 09, 2014

New Term, New Curriculum

By | September 1st, 2014|General Teaching|Comments Off on New Term, New Curriculum

September 2014 New Term, New Curriculum

The new curriculum for England starts this week and Everything Dinosaur team members would like to wish all the teachers, learning support providers and administration staff every success with the curriculum which has been described by the Prime Minister as “tough and rigorous”.  Our focus remains on providing assistance and support to schools, especially those state funded institutions that are rolling out the new schemes of work.   The launch of Everything Dinosaur’s new teaching website is timely and apposite, the new website is aimed at supporting teaching work and our experts have produced a website that provides free downloadable dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources, lesson plan guides, links to teaching aids, helpful articles plus hints and tips on science teaching from Early Years up to Key Stage 4 (evolution and genetics).

A Brand New Curriculum – A Brand New Teaching Website

Dinosaur, Evolution and Fossil Themed Teaching Resources

Dinosaur, Evolution and Fossil Themed Teaching Resources

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson for the company stated:

“The new curriculum for England places a focus on working scientifically and building up scientific knowledge.  With fossils, evolution and climate change in the curriculum, there are lots of opportunities to utilise the free teaching resources and Everything Dinosaur’s highly respected workshops in schools.”

The company intends to add more downloads to its current portfolio, as well as providing fact sheets, art materials and other items all with a prehistoric theme.  A number of downloads have already been requested and Everything Dinosaur team members have been fielding enquiries from as far away as California.

The spokesperson went onto add:

“One of the problems teachers face is having to rely on general education websites and resource providers who lack the up-to-date subject knowledge related to palaeontology.  As we are specialists in this area, Everything Dinosaur can provide more accurate information and tailor made teaching resources in support of those curriculum areas that involve rocks, fossils, habitats, life on Earth, genetics, evolution and of course, dinosaurs.”

 Inaccurate Information Being Provided to Schools

Inaccurate teaching resources.

Inaccurate teaching resources.

The picture above shows a typically inaccurate teaching resource used in Key Stage 1 and 2.  The silhouette is not a dinosaur, but a marine reptile (plesiosaur).  Plesiosaurs might have been reptiles, but they are believed to have been only very distantly related to the Dinosauria.  Inadvertent use of such inaccurate teaching resources could confuse and mislead pupils.

1 09, 2014

New School Curriculum With Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs

By | September 1st, 2014|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

New Curriculum – New Challenges For Teaching Teams

This week sees the introduction of the new national curriculum for school children in England.  A more “rigorous” curriculum with English, Mathematics and Science as core subjects with pupils at Key Stage 1 (five to seven years old) being introduced to simple fractions and even computer programming.  The aim of this new curriculum which is being rolled out across all state-funded primary and secondary schools, is to improve standards.  However, academies, which now form the majority of secondary schools, will not be required to follow the new curriculum.  State funded schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are managed differently but current policies and practices are being reviewed in many parts of the British Isles.

Why the Changes?

The Department for Education, responsible for children’s’ services and education in England, cites falling academic standards when students in England are compared to students from other countries, particular countries such as Singapore, South Korea and China.  From Everything Dinosaur’s perspective, our teaching work aims to help promote the concept of working scientifically and we deal with classes ranging from EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) right up to Key Stage 4 (students from fourteen to sixteen years).  A number of comparative studies have been undertaken and just like schools themselves, the results vary.  For example, back in 2012 Everything Dinosaur team members reported on the biannual comparative study carried out by researchers at Boston College (USA), which covers the results from two very important international teaching studies, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).  Broadly, the United Kingdom had shown good progress when it came to mathematics but standards seemed to be slipping when it came to the sciences.

Teaching about Dinosaurs and Fossils in School – Working Scientifically

Lots of facts about dinosaurs.

Lots of facts about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A topic all about dinosaurs, fossils and extinction helps to bring together core teaching subjects such as science, English and mathematics.

To read more about the study: Mixed Results for Science and Maths in English Schools

 Where does Everything Dinosaur Come In?

With the emphasis on scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding and learning about scientific methods, dinosaurs as a term topic or part of a special science themed teaching week is a great way to engage young minds at Key Stage 1 and earlier.  As children tend to have a fascination with prehistoric animals, our dinosaur workshops help to introduce and reinforce learning objectives as outlined by the new curriculum.  Lower Key Stage 2 have to learn about fossils, how they are formed and what they tell us about the once living things that they represent.   As one of our colleagues declared “Mary Anning is on the curriculum” – great to see a female role model in science.

Older students  in Key Stage 3 and heading up to Key Stage 4 are being given the opportunity to study genetics, evolution and the work of such notable scientists as Darwin and Wallace.

Teachers and their support providers have been working hard to get to grips with this new “rigorous” curriculum.  We are aware that some of the teaching resources related to dinosaurs and fossils used in the past are in some cases out of date, or worse still inaccurate. Everything Dinosaur offers lots of free, downloadable prehistoric animal themed teaching resources from its bespoke teaching website, as well as helpful articles, tips, advice and the opportunity to invite our dinosaur experts into school.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s teaching website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website For Schools

A Teaching Exercise – Our Hands versus the Hands of a Dinosaur

Examining Dinosaur Hands (Key Stage 2/3)

Examining Dinosaur Hands (Key Stage 2/3)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In terms of teaching resources, Everything Dinosaur team members have been advising learning support providers about all sorts of prehistoric animal related merchandise – from finger puppets to science kits.  All the resources we supply have been tested and reviewed by our own teaching team, there’s even free dinosaur fact sheets included as well.

Resources for schools: Teaching Resources for Schools

Here’s to that dedicated group of professionals who serve our school children so well and we wish all the students starting the new curriculum every success with their studies.

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