All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Educational Activities

Everything Dinosaur’s work with schools and other educational bodies. Articles, features and stories about dinosaurs and their role in education and educating young people.

17 09, 2019

Preparing for a School Visit

By | September 17th, 2019|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Teaching|0 Comments

Preparing for a Fossil Workshop

The autumn term is well underway and team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy conducting dinosaur themed and fossil workshops in schools, catering for a wide range of different age groups.  This week, our team members will be dealing with the eager and very excitable Early Years Foundation Stage classes (Nursery and Reception), as well as working with slightly more mature (we hope), students in Key Stages 3 and 4.

One of the things we have been asked to discuss with the students in year nine and ten that we will be working with this week, is potential career options in the Earth sciences.  This is certainly a very broad subject and we hope to provide some pointers.  We have been brushing up on our knowledge regarding career paths as well as brushing up some rather beautiful Dactylioceras ammonite fossils that we intend to use in a short exercise looking at taphonomy and the importance of index fossils.

Selecting Fossils to Use in Our Exercise with Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Students

Ammonite fossils (Dactylioceras).

A selection of ammonite fossils to be used in an exercise exploring the role of index fossils with science students.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

12 09, 2019

Year 1 Children Find Fossils

By | September 12th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 1 Children Find Fossils

The children in Year 1 at St Joseph’s Primary (Lancashire), had a morning of pretending to be palaeontologists as their autumn term topic “Dinosaur Planet” was kicked-off in style.  The friendly staff had prepared a scheme of work all about dinosaurs, an area of learning used elsewhere in the school, as the Nursery children (EYFS), would also be studying Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus et al over the course of the academic year.

Prior to our visit to conduct a morning of dinosaur and fossil themed activities with the enthusiastic children, the teaching team had challenged the class to record in their topic books what they knew about these long extinct animals.  Our dinosaur expert was impressed with the neatness of the handwriting, how well the letters had been formed and the appropriate finger spacing between words.

“Dinosaur Planet” – What I Know About Dinosaurs

At the start of the dinosaur topic the Year 1 children recorded what they know about dinosaurs.

At the start of the dinosaur topic the Year 1 children recorded what they know about dinosaurs.  For example, one pupil wrote that dinosaurs are related to reptiles – that’s right, the Dinosauria are indeed a diverse group of reptiles.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Did Diplodocus Have a Long Neck?

As part of the writing exercise, referred to as KWL:

  • what I know?
  • what I want to know?
  • what have I learned?  An opportunity to check understanding at the end of the topic.

The year 1 children wanted to know why did a Diplodocus have a long neck?

Why Did a Diplodocus Have a Long Neck?

CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur figure.

During the morning of dinosaur themed activities, the school visitor from Everything Dinosaur made sure to answer the question about the neck of Diplodocus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The first part of the morning involved visual and kinaesthetic learning with lots of physical exercises to help reinforce learning.  In the second part of the workshop, which was conducted in the classroom, the children were given the opportunity to find their own fossils.  The eager young palaeontologists found lots of fossils in our special challenge, teeth from prehistoric sharks, pieces of fossilised turtle shell, lots of ammonites and even some armour from a Jurassic crocodile!

The Children Demonstrated Lots of Pre-knowledge

Year 1 KWL exercise at the start of the dinosaur term topic.

KWL exercise (Year 1 term topic).  The Year 1 children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge about dinosaurs, even a Gallimimus was mentioned.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are confident that the budding young palaeontologists at St Joseph’s Primary are going to really enjoy their autumn term topic.

3 09, 2019

Colourful Creative Dinosaurs

By | September 3rd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Colourful Creative Dinosaurs

Our thanks to young Nataliya (Year 2), who sent into Everything Dinosaur a beautiful illustration of a dinosaur that she had designed following a visit to her school by one of our team members.  Nataliya and her classmates had taken up our challenge to design a dinosaur as part of an extension exercise that arose following one of our dinosaur and fossil workshops at the school.  The dinosaur was named “spikeraptor” and despite its fearsome name, Nataliya explained that this dinosaur was a herbivore and even included a picture of some leaves that the dinosaur was grazing upon in her prehistoric portrait.

A Colourful Dinosaur Design – “Spikeraptor”

A colourful green dinosaur - Spikeraptor the product of the imagination of young Nataliya (Key Stage 1).

A colourful green dinosaur – Spikeraptor the product of the imagination of young Nataliya (Year 2).

Picture Credit: Nataliya (Key Stage 1) and Everything Dinosaur

Lovely Labels!

As part of a writing exercise we asked the children to label their prehistoric animal’s body parts.  Nataliya was keen to emphasis the spikes and prickles on her dinosaur and our congratulations to Nataliya and the rest of the class for sending in some super drawings with fantastic examples of handwriting.  These drawings have made our day and we shall post them up in our warehouse so that all the Everything Dinosaur team members can view them.

31 08, 2019

The Lost Kingdom of the Purbeck Group

By | August 31st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page|0 Comments

The Lost Kingdom of The Purbeck Group

Our thanks to Thomas for sending into us the third and final article that he has compiled over the summer holidays.  Thomas has chosen to feature the biota associated with the Lower Cretaceous deposits of the Purbeck Group of south-eastern England.

The Purbeck Group consists of limestone, mudstones and evaporites representing a series of freshwater, brackish and marine environments laid down in the Upper Jurassic and into the Early Cretaceous, approximately 145 to 139 million years ago.  The fossils associated with these sedimentary rocks provide evidence of changing palaeoenvironments and also of faunal turnover, including a record of different types of dinosaur.

This world is not talked about often but is very interesting for at some point during the Late Jurassic allosauroids became extinct in the British Isles only to return sometime in the Early Cretaceous (around 140-139 million years ago).  Falling sea levels are thought to have contributed to the reintroduction of these theropods to their former territory.  During their absence, tyrannosauroids evolved to fill the niche left by the allosauroids, although in the Jurassic, they were not apex predators.

Let’s Meet the Dinosaur Fauna of this Lost Kingdom

  • Nuthetes destructor – known from extremely fragmentary fossil material, possibly a dromaeosaurid or perhaps a member of the Tyrannosauroidea (Proceratosauridae?).  The size of this dinosaur is unknown, although based on measurements of the anterior portion of the partial dentary associated with this species, a length of approximately 1.6 metres has been speculated.
  • Echinodon becklesii – represented by isolated teeth, one fragmentary skull and a handful of isolated jaw bones, this dinosaur is thought to be a member of the Heterodontosauridae.  It was a relatively small dinosaur with a body length of approximately 60 centimetres.
  • Owenodon hoggii – regarded as an ornithopod and known from a badly crushed right dentary found at Durleston Bay (Dorset) in 1860.  Hind limb material from near Speeton, (Yorkshire), recovered from Berriasian-aged deposits and a single tooth from Spain have also been tentatively assigned to O. hoggii.  The size of Owenodon remains unknown but it has been suggested that it could have been around 6 metres long.  Its taxonomic position remains uncertain.  When first described in the mid 1870’s it was thought the fossils represented a type of Iguanodon.

A Life Reconstruction of the Ornithopod Owenodon hoggii

Life reconstruction Owenodon hoggii.

A reconstruction of Owenodon hoggii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Undiagnostic Specimens

The Purbeck Limestone Group has also yielded a variety of other dinosaur fossils.   For example, a single, beautifully preserved tooth and a partial tail bone (caudal vertebra), which represent an armoured dinosaur.  These fossils lack any specific autapomorphies (distinct features or traits), they are regarded as indeterminate, although it could be speculated that these fragmentary fossils represent a member of the Nodosauridae family, possibly a member of the subfamily Polacanthinae.  A single, partial metacarpal from a sauropod has also been found.

Thrombolites – Preserved Evidence of Ancient Microbial Communities are Associated with the Purbeck Group Limestones

Thromobolite structures are associated with the Purbect Group

A thrombolite around a former tree stump (fossil forest, Lulworth, Dorset).  Preserved in the limestone – evidence of microbial communities that formed around tree stumps and other organic debris.   This photograph was probably taken at the fossil forest ledges that lie to the east of Lulworth Cove.

Picture Credit: University of Southampton

Numerous trace fossils consisting of dinosaur tracks have been identified.  Footprint fossils suggest  the presence of other types of dinosaurs such as small ornithopods within the Purbeck Group ecosystem, there is even a track-way which may have conceivably been left by the “Purbeck giant tyrannosauroid”.

The Purbeck Giant Tyrannosauroid

Dinosaur tracks (natural casts), along with a single metatarsal bone indicate the presence of large theropods.  Classifying this material has proved difficult.  It has been suggested that these trace fossils and the body fossil (single foot bone), could represent a member of the Tyrannosauroidea.  This theropod superfamily is now known to have been both geographically and temporally wild spread during the Late Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous.

Large Theropod Metatarsal (Purbeck Group)

A large metatarsal (foot bone) - the Purbeck Giant.

The “Purbeck Giant”, a single theropod metatarsal.

Picture Credit: NHM Data Portal

Evidence linking this fossil to the Maniraptora is limited.  Based on comparative studies of other theropod toe bones, it has been estimated that the “Purbeck giant” could have been around 6.7 metres long with a hip height of approximately 1.9 metres.  To put into perspective why the “Purbeck giant” can’t be a maniraptoran, comparative analysis based on the foot bones of members of the Maniraptora suggest that this toe bone represents a maniraptoran that would have measured in excess of 9 metres in length.  The fossil bone (metatarsal III), could have come from a tyrannosauroid.  Until the arrival of the carcharodontosaurids in this part of western Europe, the “Purbeck giant” was most likely the apex predator.   This specimen was collected from Durlston Bay on the Isle of Purbeck (Lulworth Formation subdivision of the Purbeck Group).

Outdated Reconstructions of the “Purbeck Giant” and Neovenator compared to a Human and Nuthetes

Purbeck Group theropods.

A scale drawing showing some of the theropods associated with the Purbeck Group.  Neovenator (grey), “Purbeck giant” light red, Nuthetes (N. destructor) dark red.  Note scale bar = 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Eotyrannu5 (Dan Folkes)

When allosauroids (carcharodontosaurids), recolonised what was to become the southern British Isles, there may have been a faunal turnover event with the carcharodontosaurids replacing members of the Tyrannosauroidea as apex and secondary predators.  The youngest strata associated with the Purbeck Group (the Durlston Formation), partly overlaps with the Ashdown Formation of the Wealden Group (both Berriasian in age).  The dinosaur fossils associated with the Ashdown Formation and the younger elements that between them form the Hastings Subgroup, represent a different dinosaur fauna than what is associated with the Purbeck Group.

Neovenator salerii – Known from the Isle of Wight (Barremian Stage)

A model of Neovenator.

“New Hunter” from the Isle of Wight – N. salerii.  Did these types of theropod dinosaur replace the Tyrannosauridea in western Europe?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The climate at the time would have been like the Late Jurassic and it gradually became more temperate.  The fossil forest ledges, preserved east of Lulworth Cove, represent an interesting and integral part of this ecosystem.  Imagine a coastal conifer forest, now cover the floor of it in mosses and algae and dried up seaweed.  The ingress of the tides permitted bacterial colonies to form large doughnut-shaped concretions around many tree stumps, these structures, termed thromobolites, can be observed today.  Some of these circular structures are big enough for a person to sit in.

Fossils of Mammals

The sedimentary rocks associated with the Purbeck Group has also yielded fossils of many other types of vertebrate including fragmentary jaws and teeth of several types of Early Cretaceous mammal: Early Placental Mammals Identified.  It is likely that pterosaurs were present, the fossil record of flying reptiles is particularly poor, but tracks preserved in sediments that represent intertidal flats have been ascribed to the ichnogenus Purbeckopus pentadactylus and these tracks suggest the presence of large pterosaurs.

The speed in which the carcharodontosaurids outcompeted tyrannosauroids, like the “Purbeck giant”, might lead to the conclusion that carcharodontosaurids were more successful, efficient and effective predators than either the Pantyrannosauria, a recently proposed clade consisting of all those theropods related to T. rex and Dilong paradoxus but not including Proceratosaurus bradleyi and the Proceratosauridae.  Owenodon was a bit like a blend between Camptosaurus and Mantellisaurus – fast but still of decent size.  Nuthetes would have mainly hunted the mammals, reptiles, baby dinosaurs and Echinodon.

Our thanks to Thomas for sending in the information which helped us to compile this article.

To read an article published in 2018, which provides information on the discovery of sauropod tracks on the Isle of Purbeck: Dorset Dinosaur Tracks Discovered

25 08, 2019

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

By | August 25th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Our thanks once again to young Thomas who has spent part of his summer holiday compiling blog articles for Everything Dinosaur.  In this, his second piece, he focuses on the theropod fauna of the Late Jurassic of the British Isles and in particular a dinosaur known as Metriacanthosaurus parkeri, fossils of which come from Dorset.

The Oxfordian in the UK is a rather mysterious faunal stage of the Late Jurassic, especially when it comes to what was living on land at the time.  There are four described dinosaurs from this time one of which lived later in the Oxfordian than the others.  These three are the metriacanthosaurid Metriacanthosaurus parkeri at 7.5 metres long and just over 2 metres tall, the megalosaurid Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis which had a juvenile length of 5 metres and hypothesised adult length of 6 metres and the ankylosaurian Priodontognathus phillipsii which was probably, only a few metres long, maybe 2 to 3 metres long.

Approximate Size Comparisons of Late Jurassic British Theropods

Late Jurassic theropods size comparison.

Size comparison of Late Jurassic theropods.

Image credit: Eotyrannu5 (Dan Folkes)

Key

red = Juratyrant langhami

tan = Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis

blue = “Megalosaur”

green = Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Note – scale bar = 1 metre and J. langhami and the blue “Megalosaur” are dated to approximately the same time (Late Jurassic).

Indeterminate Dinosaur Fossil Remains

Strata associated with the Oxfordian faunal stage, (early Late Jurassic), yields fragmentary, indeterminate dinosaur remains including an indeterminate sauropod found nearby to Metriacanthosaurus, a femur of a juvenile stegosaur and a large tooth from North Yorkshire belonging to a theropod, possibly metriacanthosaurid in nature.  In addition, footprints have been found indicating other types of dinosaur present and based on fossil discoveries associated with strata from geologically older and slightly younger rocks than those ascribed to the Oxfordian, it can be concluded that megalosaurine megalosaurids, tyrannosauroids and ornithopods would have lived in the Oxfordian too, we just haven’t found them yet.

A Scale Drawing of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Scale drawing of Metriacanthosaurus.

A scale drawing of the Theropod dinosaur Metriacanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The British Isles During the Late Jurassic

The ecology of the time is also mysterious.  We know for certain that the UK was separated into a series of islands, many of the islands were close enough to allow dinosaurs like Metriacanthosaurus and Eustreptospondylus to travel between them.  However to reconstruct the flora and habitat we can look back to the Callovian stage as its likely the environment wasn’t too different from then which allows for the conclusion to be drawn that the islands were semi-tropical and lush in plant life with forests located in the middle of the islands spreading outwards and ending near or in some places at the coast.  Mixed in with the forests would have been rivers, streams, small lakes, swamps, floodplains, open woodland areas closer to the coast and at the coast, estuaries, marshes, ooid beaches, bars, lagoons, coves and other coastal structures.

A Seasonal Climate

The dry season on the islands would have been long and dry with humid areas and during the wet season, the islands would have had to endure harsh tropical storms with hurricane force winds.  Plant life consisted of pollen and spore releasing plants, gymnosperms like ginkgoes, conifers and cycads, ferns, other pteridophytes along with other plants such as horsetails.  The climate would have been warm and subtropical to tropical.

Ooid Beaches – an Explanation and Metriacanthosaurus

For context, ooid beaches are where beaches are made of small, fine sand-like granules of calcium carbonate, the largest quarry in the UK (Ketton Quarry), has a portion of it that dates to just before the Oxfordian stage and might help unravel the mystery behind the Oxfordian of Britain.  Metriacanthosaurus was most likely the apex predator of the time, hunting anything from smaller theropods to perhaps the sauropod dinosaurs it coexisted with, it would have had powerful jaws with large sharp teeth and long powerful arms tipped with large hand claws for grasping prey. Metriacanthosaurus’s raised neural spinal ridge was probably used for extra back muscle attachment anchor points allowing the animal to be physically stronger than other similarly sized theropods of the time, although this assessment remains largely speculative.  Metriacanthosaurus means “moderately-spined lizard”.

The CollectA Prehistoric Life Metriacanthosaurus parkeri Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Metriacanthosaurus.

“Parker’s moderately-spined lizard”.  This dinosaur was named after its tall neural spines.

Eustreptospondylus is a rather unique megalosaur, it may have been a lot like today’s Komodo dragon frequenting many islands combing beaches, hunting down smaller animals, perhaps raiding nests of larger dinosaurs and possibly even hunting fish.  Despite Eustreptospondylus’s hypothesised adult size, it would have still been prey for the likes of Metriacanthosaurus.  A specimen of another dinosaur found from this geological time is an ankylosaur called Priodontognathus.  It was around 2 to 3 metres long and is known from Yorkshire.

Our thanks once again to Thomas for sending in his article to us.

To read the first article submitted by Thomas: The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur.”

20 06, 2019

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

By | June 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

Our thanks to the budding scientists at Great Wood Primary School in Morecambe (Lancashire), who sent into our offices some wonderful dinosaur illustrations and a set of beautifully written letters explaining how much they enjoyed their recent dinosaur workshop with one of our team members.  As part of our extension activity suggestions with the Year 2 classes we challenged them to design their very own prehistoric animal.  We received lots of amazing dinosaur designs.

A Selection of Letters from the Children – Some Featured Illustrations of Imaginary Prehistoric Animals

Letters from Year 2 children.

A selection of letters received from the eager young palaeontologists at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe, Lancashire).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Writing Thank You Letters

The teachers very kindly sent in thank you letters that the children had written.  Writing a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur is a great way for the teaching team to check learning and understanding following a recounting activity.  This letter writing exercise helps young learners practice sentence sequencing, planning their composition, as well as spelling and the layout and format of a letter.  The children can also read their letters out aloud as part of a further teaching activity within the classroom.

A Very Colourful Dinosaur Design with Lots of Wonderful Labels

Year 2 children draw dinosaurs.

A very colourful prehistoric animal produced by a Year 2 child at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Children Produced Letters and Drawings

Dinosaur drawing and letter, Year 2.

Jessica’s dinosaur drawing and letter (Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We try to provide additional teaching resources when we visit a school to deliver a dinosaur themed workshop.  In addition, during our workshop with the class the opportunity often arises to challenge the children to produce a piece of work, such as their very own dinosaur design or to write a thank you letter.  In this way, we are providing extension ideas to the teaching team and supporting the teacher’s scheme of work.”

A Very Spiky Dinosaur Design

Dinosaur illustration from Stacey (Year 2).

Stacy chose to draw a green, armoured dinosaur with a very spiky tail.

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Our thanks once again to the teaching team and the children in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School for taking the time and trouble to send into us examples of their work.  Congratulations to you all!

Dinosaurs with Spiky Tails was a Common Characteristic Amongst the Children’s Dinosaur Designs

Dinosaur illustration (Alice in Year 2)

A colourful dinosaur drawing from Alice in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

6 06, 2019

Giant Dinosaur Footprint Found in Playground

By | June 6th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|2 Comments

Giant Dinosaur Footprint Spotted at School

Pupils at Newport Infant School (Shropshire), are studying dinosaurs and prehistoric animals over the next two weeks.  The schoolchildren discovered a huge three-toed dinosaur footprint in their well-kept and spacious playground at the start of the week.  With the help of the dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team the pupils decided that the giant track must have been made by a dinosaur!

A Giant Dinosaur Footprint Discovered in the School Playground

Huge dinosaur footprint spotted at a school.

A huge dinosaur footprint spotted at a school.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School/Everything Dinosaur

Mr Remington, the school caretaker took the precaution of sealing off that part of the playground and the children became “dinosaur detectives” as they tried to work out what kind of dinosaur had paid them a visit.  The footprint is just one of the many creative dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed activities that the staff have planned for the children.  All the school is involved from Reception to the Year 2 classes and Everything Dinosaur had been invited into the school to deliver a series of workshops with the budding young palaeontologists.

During the workshops the children demonstrated some amazing knowledge and were happy to explain about dinosaurs and to discuss dinosaur facts.  Some of the children in the Reception classes had even brought in numerous dinosaur books from home to show our dinosaur expert.

We hope the additional teaching resources and extension materials that we supplied helps to support the school’s creative and challenging scheme of work.

19 04, 2019

Preparing for a Question and Answer Session with Year 2

By | April 19th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Preparing for a Question and Answer Session with Year 2

This week, sees the beginning of the summer term for schools in the UK.  Everything Dinosaur team members have a very congested programme of dinosaur and fossil workshops to look forward to over the next few weeks and in a few days a member of staff will be visiting a school in Lancashire to conduct a series of workshops with Year 2 classes.  As part of a busy morning of dinosaur and fossil themed activities, the teaching team have requested that we participate in a question and answer session with the budding, eager palaeontologists.  The children will, no doubt, pose some challenging and intriguing questions to our dinosaur expert, however, we have prepared a special question just for them as part of our programme of suggested extension activities.

Our question for the Key Stage 1 children (Year 2) – how did dinosaurs keep themselves clean?

Did Dinosaur Preen their Feathers just like Birds?

Mei long illustration.

Did dinosaurs preen their feathers like modern birds?  If many dinosaurs were feathered, how did they keep their feathers clean?

Outlining the Extension Activity

Fossil bones and teeth can provide palaeontologists with lots of information about extinct animals, but evidence from body fossils can’t tell us much about how animals that lived in the past behaved.  Trace fossils preserve evidence of the activity of animals, such as tracks, burrows, trails and borings.  From this data, scientists can infer behaviour such as dinosaurs moving in a herd, based on fossilised footprints indicating the same type of animals all moving at the same pace in the same direction.  However, there is very little evidence preserved in the fossil record about how extinct animals kept themselves clean.

Did Sauropod Dinosaurs Wallow in Mud Like Some Large Mammals?

How did dinosaurs keep themselves clean?

If large mammals like extant elephants wallow in mud then perhaps large Sauropod dinosaurs behaved in a similar way.

Our Challenge to the Year 2 Classes

In order to answer some of these questions about the behaviour of dinosaurs, palaeontologists examine the behaviours of animals alive today that are related to the Dinosauria.  By observing how birds and reptiles keep themselves clean, then perhaps the likely behaviours of dinosaurs can be deduced or inferred.

Can the Year 2 children conduct research into how living animals keep themselves clean?  Can they transfer this knowledge to the extinct members of the Dinosauria and suggest ways that different dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex kept clean?

Extensions

As with all our dinosaur and fossil workshops in school, we like to provide lots of extension ideas to the teaching team.

  • What can the children do to help the animals that live around the school to help them keep clean?  For example, providing a shallow tray filled with water to make a bird bath – linking to the English national curriculum science syllabus – living things and habitats.
  • Why do we need to keep clean?  Why is it important to brush our teeth?  A link to hygiene and personal development.

For further information about the dinosaur and fossil workshops conducted in schools by Everything Dinosaur team members: Email Everything Dinosaur About School Workshops

21 03, 2019

A Recipe for Dinosaur Shortbread Biscuits

By | March 21st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Shortbread Biscuits Recipe

Here is a quick and simple recipe to make dinosaur shortbread biscuits.  Making biscuits such as these is a fun activity that young children can participate in.  These dinosaur shortbread biscuits make great treats or can be used to help with the catering for a dinosaur themed birthday party.

A Recipe for Dinosaur Shortbread Biscuits

Dinosaur shortbread biscuits recipe.

A recipe for dinosaur shortbread biscuits.  A simple biscuit recipe that is a great idea for a dinosaur themed birthday party – perfect for prehistoric party fun!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ingredients (Makes about Twenty Biscuits)

  • Butter or margarine 110 grammes (4oz)
  • Caster sugar 50 grammes (2oz)
  • Plain flour, sifted 175 grammes (6oz)
  • Extra caster sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C /300°F (Gas mark 2).  Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. Begin by first beating the butter (or margarine) with a wooden spoon to a soft consistency, and then beat in the sugar, followed by the sifted flour.
  3. Still using the wooden spoon, start to bring the mixture together, then finish off with your hands to form a paste.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a board lightly dusted with caster sugar, and then quickly and lightly roll it out to about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick (dusting the rolling pin with sugar if necessary).
  5. Cut the biscuits out using dinosaur biscuit cutters or, a dinosaur-shaped card that acts as a template and then arrange them on the baking sheet and bake on a highish shelf in the oven for 30 minutes.  Cool the biscuits on a wire rack, dust them with some caster sugar, and store in an airtight tin to keep them crisp.
  6. Once cooled, the biscuits can be iced and decorated to make a fun dinosaur themed snack or an ideal party food for a prehistoric animal themed party or other special occasion.

Dinosaur Biscuits – Just Out of the Oven

Dinosaur biscuits

Dinosaur biscuits cooling on a wire rack.  Once cooled, these biscuits can be decorated.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur weblog is crammed full of helpful articles aimed at the parents, grandparents and guardians of dinosaur enthusiasts and budding, young palaeontologists.  If you search our blog using terms such as “dinosaur party”, “cake” and “biscuit”, you will discover lots of helpful articles, ideas, recipes and suggestions to assist you with dinosaur themed party planning and other fun prehistoric animal orientated activities.  Have fun!

Everything Dinosaur is a UK-based supplier of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed models, toys and merchandise, check-out our website: Visit Everything Dinosaur

12 03, 2019

Year 5 (Jurassic World)

By | March 12th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 5 Classes Explore Dinosaurs and Extinction

Children in Year 5 at Oasis Academy Short Heath (West Midlands), have been learning all about dinosaurs, prehistoric animals and extinction in their spring term topic.  With the help of the enthusiastic teaching team, the two classes have been studying prehistoric animals and linking this topic area to key parts of the national curriculum, such as English, mathematics, geography and science.  Recently, the children had been looking at electricity and learning about conductors.  When holding a cold fossil, heat (thermal energy), is conducted from your warm hand to the cold fossil.  The heat flows from the person to the colder object, this little exercise essentially helps to support learning about how heat is transferred and what makes a good conductor.  It links to the second law of thermodynamics helping to explain the properties of materials.

During our workshops with the class we explored the properties of fossils and what they can tell us about life in the past.

Year 5 Children Learning About Prehistoric Animals

Dinosaur poster (Year 5)

Lots of facts and information about prehistoric animals.

Picture Credit: Year 5 Oasis Academy Short Heath

English Curriculum – A Balanced Argument

Under the expert tutelage of the Year 5 teaching team there was plenty of evidence in support of cross-curricular activities on display in the spacious and tidy classrooms.  The Everything Dinosaur team member who visited the school to deliver the dinosaur and fossil workshops, spotted some super science posters that the children had prepared and during the workshop, the idea of bringing back the extinct Woolly Mammoth (M. primigenius) was proposed.  Would it be a good idea to make an animal  de-extinct?  This links with an aspect of the English curriculum, introducing the idea of a balanced argument.  Could the class debate the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a genetically modified elephant breeding programme to create shaggy coated elephants?

How to Clone a Mammoth – Linking to a Balanced Argument Exploring Pros and Cons

The science behind de-extinction.

The science of de-extinction by Beth Shapiro.  A recipe book for bringing back extinct animals.

Picture Credit: Princeton Press

Art and Design Dinosaurs

Many of the children had been inspired to create their very own dinosaur themed pieces of art.  There were some wonderful examples of prehistoric animal models on display in the classrooms.  Toni had created her very own blue and pink dinosaur egg, which when carefully opened revealed a baby Triceratops inside.  The children studied Triceratops (T. horridus) and had a go at scientific working to see if they could come up with a theory as to why palaeontologists have skull bones of this horned dinosaur but few examples of limb bones to study.

Lots of Beautiful Dinosaur Themed Artworks on Display

Year 5 and a beatuiful dinosaur egg.

A beautiful blue and pink dinosaur egg on display.

Picture Credit: Toni (Year 5 Oasis Academy Short Heath)

The class were intrigued to hear that recent research by scientists had led to the idea that dinosaur eggs may have been coloured and not just plain white or cream.  German scientists had studied the eggs of a little dinosaur from China and found evidence of the remains of pigments within the fossil eggshell, one of the pigments identified would have given the dinosaur eggs a bluish colour.  The colour scheme chosen by Toni for her Triceratops egg is therefore highly appropriate.

Some Very Large Dinosaur Models on Display

Oasis Academy (Short Heath) Year 5 and their dinosaur themed crafts.

Year 5 children at Oasis Academy Short Heath get creative during their term topic about dinosaurs.

 

Picture Credit: Year 5 Oasis Academy Short Heath

We hope the extension ideas and suggestions we provided help with the teaching scheme of work as the budding young palaeontologists explore themes such as evolution and extinction over the rest of the term.  The children certainly enjoyed the workshops and challenged their visitor with some amazing questions that they had prepared.

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