Dinosaurs of China – A Great Learning Experience

Teachers and home educationalists looking for an inspiring school visit to help support their science teaching programmes should check out the amazing “Dinosaurs of China” exhibition being held at Wollaton Hall (Nottinghamshire).  This amazing learning experience provides pupils with an opportunity to explore the evolutionary relationship between parts of the Dinosauria and living birds.  The education team at the spectacular 16th Century, Elizabethan country house have developed a number of facilitated sessions which dove-tail into various aspects of the English national curriculum for science.  On the subject of doves, students will be able to learn about amazing fossils that demonstrate just how closely related birds are to dinosaurs.

Comparing a Skeleton of an Ostrich from the Nottingham Natural History Museum Collection to an Early Member of the Tyrannosaur Family (Guanlong)

Guanlong dinosaur compared to an ostrich skeleton.

An ostrich compared to a tyrannosaurid.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mary Anning, Charles Darwin, Huxley and Seeley

The skilfully laid out exhibition tells a story “Ground Shakers to Feathered Flyers” and provides access to huge dinosaurs as well as some of the most significant fossils ever found that demonstrate the evolutionary process, highlighting how dinosaurs evolved and changed over time.  The well-written, presentation panels provide plenty of helpful information to support school activities and the palaeontologists behind the exhibition have planned a “Dinosaurs of China” trail that helps visitors to understand the observations that helped to shape some of the theories about the dinosaurs, as championed by such famous scientists as Thomas Huxley and Henry Govier Seeley.

Exploring the History of Dinosaurs and What Their Fossils Can Tell Us About the Living Animals


An early Jurassic dinosaur – Lufengosaurus from China.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Programmes for KS1 to KS4

The education team have created helpful teaching sessions centred around Darwinism and natural selection along with other sessions that utilise the extensive fossil collection of the Nottingham Natural History Museum and demonstrate how fossils form and how they have shaped our understanding of the natural world.  This is a great way to develop any school lesson plans that involve learning about Mary Anning.

Feathered Dinosaur Fossils are on Display

Sinosauropteryx fossil.

Sinosauropteryx fossil – the first feathered dinosaur to be described.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To enquire about school visits and trips: Dinosaurs of China – Teaching/Learning

A spokesperson from the Everything Dinosaur teaching team stated:

“This exhibition is an opportunity for schools and educationalists to see the fossil evidence that links parts of the Dinosauria to modern-day birds.  Concepts taught in the classroom can be brought to life and the scientific principles behind evolution and natural selection are strikingly illustrated.  Dinosaurs of China represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools to help enrich their science teaching.  This is one exhibition that is not to be missed!”

Lakeside Arts Centre – Hands-on Activities

Several public, free-access events have been organised at the nearby Lakeside Arts Centre.  Scientific illustration plays an important role in fossil interpretation and a number of activities such as free exhibitions, drop in activities and palaeoart displays will be running throughout the duration of “Dinosaurs of China”.  Teachers visiting Lakeside Arts can pick up plenty of inspirational ideas to help support their teaching programmes.

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