Lower Key Stage 1 Study Dinosaurs

Year 1 children at Heasandford Primary school in Lancashire have been studying dinosaurs this term and all three classrooms had lots of dinosaur themed displays.  Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to conduct a series of dinosaur and prehistoric animal workshops with the three classes of Year 1 pupils.  One of the first things seen as we discussed the intended teaching outcomes for the day, was a clever display posted up in one of the classrooms that showed the differences between fiction and non-fiction texts.

Learning All About Different Types of Books

Helping to learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts

Helping to learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts

Picture Credit: Heasandford Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Using dinosaurs as a template to help the children to learn about different types of books is very clever.  During the course of the term topic, the Year 1 children were given plenty of opportunities to undertake creative writing.  In addition, the children were challenged to produce their own fact books based on their favourite dinosaurs.  Our dinosaur expert spent some time over lunch looking at one of these dinosaur fact books that had been produced.  Allosaurus seems to have been this budding young palaeontologist’s favourite dinosaur, there was even a model of Allosaurus made from green tissue included in the book, along with lots of prehistoric animal facts and dinosaur drawings.  With the aid of one of the enthusiastic teaching assistants, some children had even taken photographs of fossils.  We compared these pictures with some photographs of fossils in a magazine that we just happened to have with us.

Children Produce Non-Fiction Texts All About Dinosaurs

Colourful books all about dinosaurs demonstrate lots of independent learning.

Colourful books all about dinosaurs demonstrate lots of independent learning.

Picture Credit: Heasandford Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Some of the children had even brought dinosaur toys to show our expert.  Some of these proved to be just the job when it came to explaining about different types of dinosaur such as Apatosaurus and Triceratops.  This Burnley based school is one of the largest primary schools in England.  There are twenty-one classes at the moment, and the size and scale of the school enables it to be at the very heart of the local community.  With each Year group being made up of three classes, this sets the dedicated teaching team some challenges but there was plenty of evidence to demonstrate that despite the large numbers of children at the school, there was a really strong cohesion between all the classes.  The teaching teams and their learning support providers co-ordinate schemes of work to ensure that every pupil has the opportunity to learn in a safe, stimulating and enthusiastic environment.  For example, all three classes had produced some wonderful silhouette paintings of different prehistoric animals as the children explored different types of media.  These paintings made very colourful displays.

Colourful Paintings on Display

Effective use of different media.

Effective use of different media.

Picture Credit: Heasandford Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

One of the benefits of having an expert from Everything Dinosaur visit, is that there is an opportunity to discuss extension activities to help support learning.  Whilst one class was outside busy calculating the length of a Stegosaurus, we took the chance to explore one of the dinosaur museums that the children had created in the classrooms.  There was lots of evidence on display of the varied and stimulating activities that the children had been undertaking.

One of the Dinosaur Museums in a Classroom

Year 1 classes create their own dinosaur museums.

Year 1 classes create their own dinosaur museums.

Picture Credit: Heasandford Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

As part of our follow up work with the school we emailed over some further information on the prehistoric animals that the children had learned about over the course of the day.  We even set them one or two of our special “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”, one of which included comparing Tyrannosaurus rex teeth to bananas, a great way to support the numeracy elements of the teaching scheme of work.  Could the children produce a table of their results?  Could they create a graph and plot the data?

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