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.

18 01, 2019

Supporting Women in Science

By | January 18th, 2019|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Supporting Women in Science

Whilst preparing to undertake a dinosaur and fossil workshop with a year 1 class, one of our team members spotted a superb display in the school hall, highlighting the role of women in science.  The concept of working scientifically is one of the key elements of the new national teaching curriculum that has been introduced.  It is wonderful to see the role of women in science being showcased to children at primary schools in this way.

Celebrating the Role of Women in Science

School poster acknowledges the role of women in science.

Celebrating the role of women in science.  A school poster showcases some of the leading female scientists and their contribution to building a better understanding about our world.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Chien-Shiung Wu, Hedy Lamarr, Sandra Faber and Rosalind Franklin

The poster explains some of the principles required to be a scientist such as gathering and recording data, making observations and devising experiments.  The work of four women are highlighted on this prominent poster.  Firstly, there is the physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, who worked on the Manhattan Project and become the first female tutor at the prestigious physics department at Princeton University in America.  Hedy Lamarr, perhaps better known for her acting career but also an accomplished mathematician and inventor is also featured.  She helped pave the way for today’s wireless technology.  During World War II, Hedy Lamarr worked on a radio guidance system which was more robust and difficult to jam and distort.  The principles of her work helped to lead to the development of today’s Bluetooth technology.

The poster also features Englishwoman Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist who pioneered X-ray crystallography (XRC), a method by which the atomic and molecular structure of an object can be determined.  Her work helped to reveal the internal structures of complex minerals and most famously DNA.

A Poster in the Hall of a Primary School Celebrates the Work of Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin

The double helix of DNA.

Rosalind Franklin helped to unravel the structure of the double helix of DNA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last but least, the display poster features the work of astronomer Sandra Faber.  Sandra Faber has been instrumental in the Hubble Telescope programme helping to provide some of the most detailed images of the universe ever recorded.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is great to see the work of famous women scientists highlighted in this way.  During our dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, we explore the contribution made to palaeontology by Mary Anning, who during her lifetime was given very little credit for her discoveries, but now is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Earth sciences.  Let’s hope the poster helps to inspire girls to think more seriously about a career in the sciences.”

Providing such positive role models to young girls may help encourage them with their own experiments in the school science classes.  It is important to highlight and celebrate diversity, helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.

16 01, 2019

Year 1 Children Prepare Questions About Dinosaurs

By | January 16th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Questions from Year 1 at Barford Primary

Children in Year 1 at Barford Primary (Ladywood, Birmingham), have embarked on a new term topic.  Under the enthusiastic and expert guidance of their teachers, the children are learning all about dinosaurs, fossils and life in the past.  One of Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil experts was dispatched to the school to visit 1G and 1L to help kick-off the dinosaur themed topic in style.

Prior to delivering the two workshops (one workshop for each Year 1 class), our team member was given the chance to discuss learning objectives and outcomes with the class teachers in a spacious and very tidy Year 1 classroom.

The children had been thinking of questions that they would like to know the answer to, a start had been made on one of the classroom display boards and some questions had already been posted up.

Children at Barford Primary School (Year 1) Prepare Questions About Prehistoric Animals and Fossils

Questions about dinosaurs from Year 1 (Barford Primary)

Barford Primary – dinosaur questions.  The two classes of Year 1 children had been preparing questions about dinosaurs and life in the past.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Barford Primary

Learning About Fossils

During the workshop, the children were able to handle the same sort of fossils that Mary Anning, the famous fossil hunter from Dorset would have discovered on the beach at Lyme Regis.  Mary Anning makes a fine role model for children in Key Stage 1, as she was not much older when she found the fossilised remains of a huge marine reptile (Ichthyosaur) eroding out of the cliffs close to her home town.

One of the questions asked by the pupils was “how is a fossil made?”  Using simple language and terms our dinosaur expert leading the workshop was able to explain how most fossils are formed and that it is because we have fossils, such as bones, teeth and footprints that palaeontologists have been able to demonstrate that millions of years ago giant reptiles roamed the Earth.  All very helpful with the scheme of work for the Year 1 children as another question asked by a budding, young scientist was “how do we know that dinosaurs existed?”

Fossils Help Scientists to Learn About Life in the Past

A Gorgosaurus on display.

Gorgosaurus fossil display.  Fossils help scientists to learn about life in the past.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Manchester University

Populating a Prehistoric Scene

One of the questions that our staff member spotted whilst visiting the Year 1 children (1G and 1L), was “what killed the dinosaurs”?  The children were keen to demonstrate their pre-knowledge and provided very confident answers, in the challenging and engaging scheme of work prepared for the term topic, the question concerning what caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs will be thoroughly researched and explored.  One theory that has been proposed is that a long period of volcanism caused global climate change, this volcanism in conjunction with an extra-terrestrial impact event led to the extinction of around seventy percent of all life on land, including the non-avian dinosaurs.

Volcanic Eruptions Could Have Played a Role in the Extinction of the Dinosaurs

Barford Primary (Year 1) design a prehistoric scene.

Primary school children design their own dinosaur landscape.  Volcanic eruptions could have been a factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Barford Primary

1 12, 2018

Defining Background Extinction

By | December 1st, 2018|Animal News Stories, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

What is Background Extinction?

Amongst the numerous emails that we receive from schools and schoolchildren every day, we were sent a query by a UK-based, Key Stage 2 teacher, who raised a question surrounding the teaching of natural selection, Darwinism and evolution with her Year 6 class.  The teacher had come across the term “background extinction”, but was unsure as to its meaning, could we help?

Bolide Impacts May Have Contributed to Mass Extinctions But What is Background Extinction?

The extinction of the dinosaurs.

The impact of an extra-terrestrial object such as a comet or asteroid probably contributed to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Defining Background Extinction

If ideas about natural selection are correct, then organisms in ecosystems are all competing against each other for resources.  Such competition for finite resources such as space, water and food will lead to some organisms being more successful than others.  Ultimately, those less competitive organisms within a population will not survive to reproduce.  The same idea applies on a species level, some species will be more successful than other species.  Eventually, in the face of this competition, some species will die out.  These extinctions as a result of the operation of normal competition and natural selection are referred to as “background extinction”.  These extinctions are also sometimes referred to as the “standard rate of extinction”.

It is estimated that something like 90% of all extinctions throughout the history of our planet have taken place during times of background extinction.

To read an article (2015), that looks at why Australia’s extinction rate might be higher than on other continents: The Extinction Rate in Australia is Higher than most Other Continents

Background Extinction – Extension Activities

In order to help the teacher’s scheme of work with the Year 6 class, we set two extension activities linked to the theme of background extinction:

1).  Could the school children draw a graph to represent mass extinction events that have occurred but also show on the same graph background extinction?

2).  Have the children research The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), can they produce a non-chronological report on this organisation, its aims, objectives and what current conservation projects are being undertaken?  There are plenty of on-line resources available including videos to support this type of independent enquiry and research.

11 11, 2018

Foundation Stage 2 Study Dinosaurs

By | November 11th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Foundation Stage 2 Learn All About Dinosaurs

Last week, was a very busy week for the teaching team at Everything Dinosaur.  They have lots of dinosaur and fossil workshops to try to fit in before schools begin preparing for the end of the autumn term.  On Friday, one of our teaching staff visited The Berkeley Academy in Cheshire to work with two Reception classes who had been studying life in the past and prehistoric animals.  Whilst being given a tour of the school by the dedicated teaching staff, our dinosaur expert spotted several examples of the children’s dinosaur themed arts and crafts on display.  One classroom (Class 2), had even constructed a dinosaur den in a part of their classroom.

Class 2 Children (Reception) Had Created a “Dinosaur Den” in their Classroom

A dinosaur den spotted in a Reception classroom.

Children in Class 2 (Berkeley Academy) have a dinosaur den in their classroom.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

There were lots of fiction and non-fiction prehistoric animal themed books for the children to peruse.  The mission statement for the school is “It’s all about doing your best” and some of the Year 5 students had helped with decorating the dinosaur den, creating some very colourful examples of dinosaurs out of pieces of tissue paper.  These had been placed alongside some “Plateosaurs” that the Reception children had made.

Tissue Paper Dinosaurs and “Plateosaurs” Decorate the Dinosaur Den

A Brachiosaurus spotted in the dinosaur den.

Children in Year 5 at Berkeley Academy (Cheshire), helped to decorate the dinosaur den in the Reception class.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Berkeley Academy aims to create a learning environment in which all the children can thrive.  The eager, young palaeontologists had been developing their knowledge about dinosaurs and during our dinosaur expert’s visit the children were keen to demonstrate their pre-knowledge and they were very confident answering questions and contributing to the workshop.

Year 5 Have Helped to Decorate the Reception Class

A brightly coloured dinosaur made from tissue paper.

A brightly coloured meat-eating dinosaur created with tissue paper by Year 5 children.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaur den makes a wonderful safe, secure and stimulating environment for the young children to learn about simple food chains, what animals need to keep them happy and to discover famous fossil hunters like Mary Anning.

To help develop hand-to-eye co-ordination and motor skills, the children had been challenged to write their names inside a silhouette of a dinosaur.  These dinosaurs were posted up onto a “wow wall”, we hope the dinosaur feet we provided will help to further stimulate the children’s writing skills.

Writing and Dinosaurs Combine to Help Reception Children Improve their Motor Skills

Dinosaurs and writing activities (Foundation Stage 2)

The Reception class children wrote their names on a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and their dinosaur and fossil workshops: Contact Us/Request a Quotation

8 11, 2018

Caterpillars and Bees Learn All About Dinosaurs

By | November 8th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Reception Children at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy Learn About Dinosaurs

The children in the two Reception classes at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy (Caterpillars and Bees), have had a very busy term learning about fossils and dinosaurs.  As part of a rich and diverse scheme of work devised by the hard-working teaching team, a staff member from Everything Dinosaur was invited into the Birmingham-based school to spend a morning delivering two workshops to the eager, young scientists.  The enthusiastic learners were keen to demonstrate their knowledge about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals and our workshops were well received by the children and teachers alike.

Prior to the start of the school day, our dinosaur expert was given the opportunity to view some of the wide range of activities that the classes had undertaken.  Part of one of the well-appointed and very tidy Reception classrooms had been turned into a special “dinosaur” exhibit.  The centrepiece of this display was a beautiful volcano that had been made from crumpled brown paper with bright red cellophane making excellent lava.

A Centrepiece of the Dinosaur Display in the Reception Classroom

A volcano on display in a classroom.

Reception classes learn about volcanoes and dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

Lots of Amazing Arts and Crafts on Display

The children had been making their very own fossils out of clay and during our workshop we explored in simple terms how fossils are formed and helped the children to learn about some of their properties (hard/soft, heavy/light, hot/cold).  Our dinosaur expert spotted some dinosaur bones made out of straws that the children had used to create shapes and patterns.

Creating Shapes and Patterns Using Straw Dinosaur Bones

Straws used to make skeletons of dinosaurs (shapes and patterns).

Using straws to make dinosaur skeletons – shapes and patterns.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

At Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy, the dedicated staff encourage the children to think big and to push boundaries so as to build their confidence.  One of the teachers explained that the children had been making dinosaurs out of paper plates and she was amazed when our dinosaur expert explained that there actually was a dinosaur called Plateosaurus!  The young palaeontologists had not just been looking at dinosaurs, their cousins the pterosaurs (flying reptiles), had been studied too.

A beautifully crafted model of a pterosaur had been carefully placed above one of the dinosaur themed areas of the Reception classroom.

Flying High Over the Classroom Dinosaur Display

Pterosaur on display in a classroom.

A beautiful flying reptile flying high over a dinosaur classroom display at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

Plant-eaters, Meat-eaters, Habitats and Homes

The Academy had been graded “Outstanding” in all areas following a recent Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), inspection.  There was certainly much to admire in the Foundation Stage part of the school that our dinosaur expert visited.  The staff were highly motivated and our team member observed that the school was providing a very creative and exciting curriculum for the pupils.  We are confident that the additional resources that we supplied and the lesson plan suggestions would help to augment the challenging and inspirational scheme of work that had been devised for the Reception classes.

The children in Bees and Caterpillars had been learning about meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs along with the sort of conditions a dinosaur needs to be happy and to feel safe.  The Reception classes had even built one or two little dinosaur worlds for their dinosaur figures to live in.

An Armoured Dinosaur Finds a Home in the Dinosaur Display

A dinosaur on display in a Reception classroom.

An armoured dinosaur (Ankylosaurus) finds a home at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

7 10, 2018

Baking Triassic Treats

By | October 7th, 2018|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaurs Inspire Baking

The children in Year 2 (Owls and Hedgehogs classes), at Spire Nursery and Infant School (Derbyshire), have been learning all about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals this term.  A team member from Everything Dinosaur visited the school last week to conduct some workshops with the children as part of a challenging, diverse and exciting scheme of work that had been devised by the dedicated teaching team.

Over the last few weeks the children have shared lots of amazing information about dinosaurs and set out what aspects of the lives of dinosaurs that they would like to explore.  The eager, young palaeontologists have been learning about when dinosaurs lived, where they lived and what they ate.  As part of an exploration of food and dinosaur body shapes the children in Year 2 made some super dinosaur themed cakes and biscuits.

Trays of Dinosaur Inspired Tasty Cakes and Biscuits

Dinosaur treats made by Year 2 children.

Dinosaur chocolate nests and biscuits.  A couple of trays of “Triassic treats”.

Picture Credit: Spire Nursery and Infant School

Developing Creativity

Taking part in a baking activity permits the children to practice their measuring and motor skills as well as introducing the idea of following a set of instructions to achieve a desired outcome.  Decorating the various dinosaur themed treats certainly brought out the children’s creative flair.

Young Elliott was Very Proud of the Dinosaur Biscuit that he had Made

A dinosaur shaped biscuit made by Year 2.

A dinosaur themed biscuit.

Picture Credit: Spire Nursery and Infant School

Herbivores, Carnivores and Omnivores

Over the course of the term topic the children have been learning about simple food webs and what animal’s need to keep them safe and well.  During our workshops with the classes our dinosaur expert checked learning by testing the children’s knowledge about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores.  One of the role-play areas in a classroom had been turned into a “dinosaur dig site”, permitting the children the opportunity to search for dinosaur bones, allowing the children to experience what it is like to be a real palaeontologist.

After the Everything Dinosaur workshops in the morning, the children were going to have an afternoon of science, creating simple experiments to study the way in which some dinosaurs fed.  We hope that the additional resources, experiment ideas and lesson plans we provided helps to support, what is already a diverse and challenging scheme of work.

Whilst in one of the classrooms, our dinosaur expert was able to see some of the excellent dinosaur themed work completed by the children.  The classes had been finding out lots of information about dinosaurs from a variety of sources to help them create their own non-fiction book.  Lots of dinosaur books were on display, the Year 2 pupils had been exploring different texts, all with a prehistoric animal theme.

Shapes and Numeracy

There is a big focus on helping the children gain confidence with numbers.  The children have been studying simple addition and subtraction problems, our dinosaur footprint measuring exercise that we provided should help support this area of the curriculum nicely.  The enthusiastic teaching team have been using dinosaurs to help children appreciate and learn about different shapes.  On the wall outside the Year 2 classrooms, examples of dinosaurs made from different shaped pieces of felt were on display.

Learning About Different Shapes Using Dinosaurs

Exploring shapes to make a felt dinosaur

A felt dinosaur.  The children were challenged to use different shaped pieces of felt to build a dinosaur.  This is a great way to help develop an understanding of basic geometry.

Picture Credit: Spire Nursery and Infant School

30 09, 2018

Everything Dinosaur Supports TetZooCon 2018

By | September 30th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Supports TetZooCon 2018

The countdown to the annual TetZooCon has well and truly started, there is just under a week to go until the prestigious London conference dedicated to living and extinct Tetrapods.  TetZooCon opens on Saturday 6th October and for the first time, the amazing number of speakers, presenters and activities means that the fifth incarnation of this event has been extended over two days.  A whole weekend dedicated to the “TetZooniverse”!

Everything Dinosaur is honoured to be involved in this annual gathering and we have dispatched some rather special prehistoric animal models and figures that can be used as prizes for the super-tricky (but still fun), quiz that is a staple of this wonderful event.

Just Under One Week Until TetZooCon 2018

The Tetrapod Zoology Conference 2018.

The promotional banner for TetZooCon 2018.

Picture Credit: Darren Naish/John Conway

Talks, Presentations, Palaeoart Workshops, Book Signings and So Much More

Our congratulations to conference organisers Darren Naish and John Conway who have put together a varied and fascinating group of speakers and other Tetrapod themed events for what will, no doubt, be an extremely enjoyable and informative weekend.  Visitors to The Venue, Malet Street, London next weekend will be able to spot Everything Dinosaur’s slides that have been prepared for use in between the talks and various presentations.

Everything Dinosaur Supports TetZooCon 2018

One of Everything Dinosaur's slides prepared for TetZooCon 2018.

Everything Dinosaur has prepared slides for TetZooCon 2018.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The slides will showcase the breadth and the range of prehistoric animal figures and models that Everything Dinosaur now stocks.  Our prehistoric animal inventory is nearly as eclectic and diverse as the incredible range of presenters that have been invited to speak at this year’s TetZooCon.  Highlights of the event include a talk from herpetologist Mark O’Shea, Jennifer Jackson on the origins of baleen whales, Katrina van Grouw on the influence of Homo sapiens on the fate of Earth’s biota and Fiona Taylor providing a composer’s perspective on music used in wildlife documentaries.

We hope that Bristol University’s Steve Zhang, another speaker at this illustrious gathering, will spot the Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) figure that we have donated as a quiz prize.  After all, Steven will be one of the first speakers TetZooCon 2018, with a short presentation highlighting the rise and fall of the Straight-tusked elephant.

The Slideshow Will Highlight the Huge Range of Prehistoric Animal Figures Stocked By Everything Dinosaur

Slides for TetZooCon 2018

The Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant features on the Everything Dinosaur TetZooCon slideshow.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The 2018 TetZooCon has a Very Special Banner

Since the very first TetZooCon in 2014, a promotional banner has been created by Darren featuring some of the enormous number of illustrations that the vertebrate palaeontologist and science writer has compiled for his textbook detailing the evolutionary history of the vertebrates.  This year’s banner is a little different, it includes artwork produced by delegates at last year’s conference, helping to encapsulate the inclusive and participative elements of this unique event.  If you attended TetZooCon and contributed to the pair of giant panels produced during the palaeoart workshop, then your own illustration may have been used to help create the 2018 TetZooCon promotional banner.

Beasts of the Mesozoic Will Feature at TetZooCon 2018

Beasts of the Mesozoic slide prepared for prestigious scientific conference.

Beasts of the Mesozoic features on the 2018 TetZooCon slideshow.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“TetZooCon is now in its fifth year and it is going from strength to strength.  Our congratulations to Darren and John for putting on this not-for-profit event, it is a wonderful example of scientific outreach, bringing together a cornucopia of talented artists, illustrators and scientists all helping to inform and educate.  Special wishes to Beth Windle, who once again will be bringing a Tetrapod inspired cake along to this prestigious event.”

Eagle-eyed attendees will spot something rather special on the slide presentation that we have prepared especially for TetZooCon 2018.  Everything Dinosaur will soon be sending out an important news release about yet another exciting development at the company.  A new range of prehistoric animal figures is being added to Everything Dinosaur’s already impressive portfolio and delegates at TetZooCon 2018 will be amongst the first to find out about this.

More news about TetZooCon and the developments at Everything Dinosaur coming soon….

22 09, 2018

Key Stage 1 and Dinosaurs

By | September 22nd, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Key Stage 1 Classes at Strawberry Fields Primary Study Dinosaurs

The children in the three Key Stage 1 classes at Strawberry Fields Primary are certainly enjoying their term topic all about dinosaurs, fossils and life in the past.  The dedicated teaching team have developed a challenging and varied term topic for the pupils.  The budding young palaeontologists in Year 1 (class 1MM), have been working out whether “a dinosaur would make a good pet”.  Some of the fierce meat-eating dinosaurs we talked about during our school visit, might not make ideal pets, but some of the smaller plant-eaters, (herbivores) might have been better suited.  The dinosaurs would certainly have been curious to visit the amazing dinosaur den that had been set up in the classroom, complete with a beautiful crepe paper volcano overlooking it.

A Model of a Volcano on Display in the Classroom

Year 1 model volcano.

A wonderful representation of a volcano on display in a Year 1 classroom.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Bright and Colourful Prehistoric Animal Displays

The children in the three Key Stage 1 classes (1MM, 1/2CE and 2MC), were keen to display their knowledge and explained confidently how the dinosaurs died out.  Prior to our workshops, we provided some additional resources and we emailed over to the school a lesson plan that we had devised that examined the question “why do asteroids always land in craters”?   This lesson plan and the other materials we provided were aimed at supporting the school’s scheme of work and to engage the children with the concept of “scientific working”.

Lots of Brightly Coloured Prehistoric Animals on Display Around the Spacious Classrooms

Key Stage 1 prehistoric animal window display.

A colourful long-necked prehistoric animal window display in Key Stage 1.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three-dimensional Dinosaur Model

In the tidy and well-appointed classrooms, our dinosaur expert who visited the school spotted lots of excellent examples of the children’s work.  There was even a three-dimensional model of the head of a Triceratops looking down on the display boards in one of the classrooms.  These display boards were rapidly becoming filled with examples of the children’s non-chronological reports, questions that they had researched about dinosaurs, fact sheets and plenty of colourful prehistoric animal themed artwork.

The Head of a Triceratops Looks Down on the Class Display Boards

Triceratops head on display in a Key Stage 1 classroom.

A three-dimensional Triceratops head on display in the classroom.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our very best wishes to all the young palaeontologists in Key Stage 1 at Strawberry Fields Primary and also to the hard-working teaching team that had put together such an exciting and challenging term topic for the children.

21 09, 2018

Answering Questions About Dinosaurs – Part 2

By | September 21st, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Answering Questions About Dinosaurs – Part 2

Our thanks to the teaching team at Ewloe Green Primary in Wales, who sent us a list of questions that had been compiled by the Year 1 pupils as they studied their dinosaur themed term topic.  The enthusiastic, budding palaeontologists have been carrying out a lot of research into prehistoric animals as they prepare for our visit to deliver some dinosaur workshops at the school.  Quite a range of questions had been put together by the children, some of which we hope to address in our workshops with the classes.  The questions and our notes have already been incorporated into the lesson plans emailed to the school.  However, there are still one or two outstanding enquires, such as the question from Amelia who wanted to know why do some dinosaurs have four legs and some only two?

Why Do Some Dinosaurs Have Four Legs and Some Only Two?

The very first dinosaurs were not giants, they were small, fast-running carnivores that appeared more than 235 million years ago during the Triassic.  These dinosaurs were bipeds, this means that they ran around on their hind legs, they did not use their front limbs, their arms for walking around.  Humans are bipeds, we walk around on our back legs and use our arms and hands for other things.  Human babies learn to crawl and they move around on all fours, but they soon learn to walk upright.

One of the Very First Dinosaurs Nyasasaurus from Africa

Nyasasaurus image.

Nyasasaurus – believed to be one of the first dinosaurs.  It lived some 235 million years ago in the Triassic.  It was a fast-running dinosaur – a biped.

Picture Credit: M. Witton/NHM

Quadrupeds and Bipeds

From these small, meat-eating ancestors the dinosaurs quickly evolved into lots of different species of different shapes and sizes.  As some dinosaurs adapted to eating plants rather than meat, they began to develop bigger bodies to help them cope with digesting tough plant food.  As these plant-eating dinosaurs got bigger and heavier, they found it easier to move around on all fours, with all their limbs helping to support their weight.  All the very heaviest dinosaurs described so far, the long-necked dinosaurs like Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus, for example, moved around on four legs.  Animals that walk on all fours are called quadrupeds.

Around 1,200 Different Types of Dinosaur Have Been Described To Date

The great variety of dinosaurs.

So many different types of dinosaur.  Around 1,200 different types of dinosaur have been scientifically described.  Some dinosaurs walked on just their hind legs, some dinosaurs walked on all fours and some dinosaurs could amble around on all fours, but if they needed to run quickly, they could rear up onto their hind legs and run away, changing from being a quadruped to becoming a biped.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For Teacher

  • Challenge the class to sort dinosaur models into animals that walk on two legs and animals that walk on all fours.
  • Can the children research animals alive today and classify them into different groups based on how they move?

Why Do Some Dinosaurs Have Horns?

Sorcha wanted to know why do some dinosaurs have horns?  Lots of dinosaurs had horns, in fact there is a group of dinosaurs called the “horned dinosaurs” as most of these types had long horns on their faces or heads and all of them had frills of bone at the back of their skulls.  Famous horned dinosaurs include Triceratops, Protoceratops and the very spiky Styracosaurus (see picture above).

Scientists think that these horns helped dinosaurs to:

  1. Stay safe – the horns, spikes and frills of bone around their necks helped protect them from attacks from other dinosaurs.
  2. To signal to other dinosaurs in their herd – dinosaurs like Triceratops and Styracosaurus probably lived in large groups (herds), they could have used their big horns and frills to signal to the other group members.
  3. To find a mate – dinosaurs probably had colour vision, as good as ours.  They could see colours, just like we can and the horns and frills may have been brightly coloured and used in displays to help these dinosaurs to find a mate.  Many birds are brightly coloured and have large feathers which are not helpful when it comes to flying but are used to help these creatures display and show-off – a peacock for example.

Lots of Different Horned Dinosaurs – How Many Can You Count?

Different types of horned dinosaur.

Horned dinosaurs used their horns to help defend themselves from attack, to help signal to other herd members and to help them display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For Teacher

  • Challenge the class to write a fact sheet all about the famous, three-horned dinosaur Triceratops.
  • Find pictures of horned dinosaurs, can the children group them into two types of horned dinosaur, one group with large nose horns and small horns over their eyes and a second group with small nose horns and large horns over their eyes?
  • What types of animals have horns today?  Can you make a list and work out what these animals use their horns for?
18 09, 2018

Dinosaur Questions for Year 1

By | September 18th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Answering Dinosaur Questions for Year 1 Pupils

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy preparing for a dinosaur workshop at Ewloe Primary in Wales.  The children in Year 1 have been researching dinosaurs and finding out lots of facts about prehistoric animals.  One of the teachers at the school emailed Everything Dinosaur with a list of questions that the children had compiled.

Year 1 Children Think of Questions About Dinosaurs

Why do dinosaurs have spikes on their backs? Isabelle.
Why do some dinosaurs have four legs and some not? Amelia.
Why do some dinosaurs have armour? Cora.
Why do some have arms? Emily
Why do some walk in a clumsy fashion? Lily
Why do some have horns? Sorcha
Why do some only eat plants? Paige
Why do some dinosaurs fly? Emma
Why do some run really fast? Harri
Why do they fight? Lyla-Brooke
Why are some vegetarian? Isaac
Why do they have sharp teeth? Riya
Why are they all different sizes? Scarlett
Why do some have long tails? Jac
Why do some have such a long neck? Olly
Why do some have arms? Charlotte
Why do they leave footprints and how? Noah
Why do they have tails? Katelyn
Why do they have claws? Leah

Image Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are quite  a lot of questions and our dinosaur expert will endeavour to answer some of them during the school visit to conduct the dinosaur workshops.  However, here are a couple of answers that we have prepared.

Why Do Dinosaurs Have Arms?

Our thanks to Charlotte and Emily for thinking up this super question.  All dinosaurs had arms, a pair of arms just like us in fact.  The bones in these arms were very similar to the bones that we have in our arms from the shoulder to the wrist joint (the humerus, sometimes called the funny bone and the ulna and radius bones), but there are differences in our wrists and fingers.

The arms of dinosaurs were adapted to help them to do different things.  Some dinosaurs walked on all fours, the arms of these dinosaurs were used for walking.  Other dinosaurs walked on two legs and their arms were used in other ways.  For example, the ostrich-like Struthiomimus (Strooth-ee-oh-mime-us), had quite long, thin arms which may have had feathers on them.  These arms were not wings, this dinosaur was too big to fly, but Struthiomimus may have flapped its arms about to scare off predators, to attract a mate or perhaps to shade its babies from the sun.

Different Dinosaurs with Different Arms

Different dinosaur arms.

Dinosaur arms and their different functions.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Do Dinosaurs Leave Footprints and How?

Lots of animals and even people leave footprints, if you walk over something soft like mud or sand your foot will sink in and leave an impression behind.  If you walk on something hard, like the concrete paths around your school, you don’t leave footprints, but if you were to walk on the concrete before it had hardened then your feet would sink into the concrete and you would create a footprint.  Nice time you go to the beach and you walk on the sand take a look behind you, as you may have left a trail of footprints.

Can You Spot the Dinosaur Footprints?

Dinosaur tracks and prints fossil site (China).

Lots of dinosaur tracks made in the soft sand as the dinosaurs walked by, as the sand turned into rock so the dinosaur footprints have been preserved as fossils.

Picture Credit: Lu Yong

When a dinosaur walked over soft ground such as the mud by a lake or a sandy river bank, they would leave a set of footprints.  Sometimes, these tracks would get quickly covered by more sand and mud and over millions of years these layers would harden and turn into stone such as mudstone and sandstone.  These rocks might preserve the dinosaur footprints as fossils.

A Dinosaur Steps in Some Mud and Leaves a Footprint

Typical two-toed dinosaur track.

A dinosaur making a footprint.

Picture Credit: Matt Celeskey

The shape and size of the fossil footprint provides palaeontologists with clues as to what sort of dinosaur might have made the track.

For Teacher

  • Can the children think of six different ways they use their arms?  Take photographs of these activities and make a poster for display describing what their arms are being used for.  Think through and list the tasks that arms will be asked to do when it comes to putting the posters up on a wall for display.  Write down the list of tasks needed to put a poster up on a wall, can a member of the class instruct their classmates correctly to ensure the task is completed?
  • Using plastic tubs filled with wet sand make a series of impressions using everyday objects found in the classroom, can the children work out what the objects were just from the impressions made?  Make salt dough and have the class use various objects to make their own salt down fossils.  Press an object into the salt dough to make an impression and then bake the dough to make it hard to preserve the imprint.
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