What Do You Know About Dinosaurs?  K-W-L Technique

Children at Clutton Church of England Primary School in Cheshire have had a busy week.  The pupils in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 have been learning all about dinosaurs and life in the past and on Friday, one of our dinosaur experts visited the school to work with the enthusiastic children for a morning.   Before our dinosaur workshop commenced, the Everything Dinosaur team member had the opportunity to examine some of the children’s work including mind maps created by the teacher to help the teaching team develop an appropriate scheme of work for the mixed age group class.

What Do You Know About Dinosaurs?

The KWL technique helps teachers understand subject pre-knowledge.

Using the KWL technique to start a term topic all about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Clutton C of E Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

What is the K-W-L Technique?

The mind maps formed part of the teacher’s planning for the topic.  She was utilising a technique called the K-W-L.  The K-W-L concept aids teachers and helps them to plan a topic and to check understanding.  It consists of three phases, firstly, the children brainstorm and say what they think they know about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.  During the brainstorming session, the children will make statements and assertions that provide the teacher with details as to what the children would like to find out about prehistoric animals.  The third phase, which is conducted at the end of the period of teaching, highlights what the children have learned at the end of their studies.  This third phase permits the teaching team to check understanding and gives them the opportunity to reinforce leaning if required.

The Three Phases of the K-W-L Technique

  • What do you know about a subject area?
  • What would you like to learn about a subject?
  • What have we learned about a subject at the end of the topic?

The Second Phase – What Would We Like to Learn About Dinosaurs?

KWL - technique used in schools (dinosaur term topic).

What do you want to know about dinosaurs?

Picture Credit: Clutton C of E Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Helping to Guide Lesson Planning

When the children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 were asked to consider what they already knew about dinosaurs they demonstrated considerable pre-knowledge.  For example, the children knew what the term predator meant and they could explain a little bit about the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The teaching team were able to gain valuable insights into gaps in the children’s understanding of the wider world when the second mind map was created.  For instance, Olivia wanted to know if dinosaurs killed people, whilst Josh asked how did the dinosaurs eat things?  These two questions could guide the teaching team and provide a stimulus for the scheme of work.  Perhaps, a timeline could be created explaining just how long ago the dinosaurs lived.  The children could look at the teeth of dinosaurs in books and compare these teeth to the teeth of animals alive today and try and work out which dinosaurs were herbivores and which ones were carnivores.

The K-W-L technique provides a useful planning aid for teachers and teaching assistants.

 To see how schematic story maps can help children learn: Schematic Story Maps Help Children to Remember Facts

For information on Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur workshops in schools: Contact Everything Dinosaur Request Information

Share This!Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0