Year 1 Learn About Dinosaurs, Fossils and Mary Anning

It was a busy morning for the Year 1 children in Squirrels and Hedgehogs classes at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary as they explored dinosaurs and fossils as part of a term topic all about prehistoric animals and life in the past.  The dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team had put together a challenging and varied scheme of work and a visit from Everything Dinosaur was included to provide a provocation and help kick-start the learning by having a special “wow day” for the children.

The classes had covered simple food webs in a previous topic and the teachers and the Learning Support Assistants were keen to reinforce learning about the differences between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.  In the colourful classroom, a three-dimensional dinosaur had been made, providing an appropriate centrepiece for the children’s work as they explored “Planet Dinosaur”.

A Carnivorous Dinosaur on Display

A 3-D dinosaur on display.

A three-dimensional dinosaur on display in the Year 1 classroom.

Picture Credit: Year 1 Stanwell Fields C of E Primary

Learning About Mary Anning

Within the history area of the national curriculum, (programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2), pupils are encouraged to learn about the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.  Mary Anning, provides a very good role model, especially for girls, when it comes to learning about pioneering fossil hunters.  The story of Mary Anning and the “sea shells on the sea shore”, provides lots of cross-curricular links and one of the teaching team at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary, even dressed up as Mary Anning at the start of the term topic.  During our workshop, we discussed this famous Dorset fossil hunter and the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge.  The various fossils we spotted in the rocks and minerals box in the well-maintained and orderly resources room will provide extra stimulus for the eager young palaeontologists.  The Everything Dinosaur team member supplied lots of additional learning materials and we have produced a number of lesson plans and data sheets for teachers that feature Mary Anning.

Famous Fossil Hunter Mary Anning

Mary Anning Poster

Mary Anning makes an excellent role model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With the school hall occupied, the dinosaurs and fossils were confined to a classroom for the duration of the morning.  However, with the partition doors open, there  was plenty of space and this gave our team member the opportunity to admire the various displays on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.  The well-appointed and tidy classroom was a credit to the school.

Ready to Start Moving Tables Prior to the Dinosaur and Fossil Workshop

A spacious Year 1 classroom.

Spacious classroom being made ready for a dinosaur workshop.

Picture Credit: Year 1 Stanwell Fields C of E Primary

Synonyms and Antonyms

As part of the children’s vocabulary development, the teaching staff had been covering the use of synonyms (words that have the same meaning) and antonyms (words that have the opposite meaning).  When it came to challenging the children to describe the ammonite fossils, our workshop leader encouraged the children to provide a synonym for the word “big”.  There were lots of suggestions, “huge”, “massive” and “gigantic” being readily offered up by the eager, young palaeontologists.

All too soon, the morning of activities with the two classes had to be concluded as it was time for lunch.  However, once the tables had been put back in their place there was still time to hear about the lesson plan for the afternoon that had been prepared – making salt dough fossils.  Our dinosaur expert suggested that the children could roll up the dough creating spirals and make their own ammonites.

One thing is for sure, the children in Year 1 at Stanwell Fields C of E Primary have an exciting and enriching term topic to look forward to completing.

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