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

Everything Dinosaur team members working in schools, helping museums and other educational bodies. Our work with and in schools.

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

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.
12 09, 2018

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

By | September 12th, 2018|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

When team members at Everything Dinosaur visit the coast of Dorset, they always try and take time out of their busy schedules to visit the grave of Mary Anning and her brother Joseph.  The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning can be found at St Michael the Archangel Church, in the appropriately named Church Street in the picturesque town of Lyme Regis.  In 1811, Mary along with her brother Joseph, discovered the fossilised remains of an Ichthyosaur, their first major, documented fossil discovery.  Within the Church itself, there is a stained glass window that honours the life and work of Mary Anning.  It was paid for in part, by members of the Geological Society in recognition of her contribution to this branch of scientific enquiry.

The Grave of Mary and Joseph Anning at Lyme Regis

Mary and Joseph Anning are buried here.

The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Paying Tribute to Mary Anning (1799-1847)

A stained glass window in the church is not the only way in which the contribution of Mary is remembered.  Over the last few years it has become something of a tradition to place a fossil or a pebble from the beach on the grave.  This is a touching gesture, one that allows tourists as well as professional fossil hunters to acknowledge the work of a pioneer in palaeontology.  Everything Dinosaur team members have done much to support the inclusion of the story of Mary Anning and her fossil discoveries within the English National Curriculum.  Mary Anning is one of the historical figures included in many study texts and schemes of work associated with English Primary School curriculum.   Her life and work provides an excellent role model for many people, especially girls, who can learn about a female scientist, someone who might help and inspire them to take a greater interest in science subjects.

Within the town of Lyme Regis, a blue plaque has been erected on the site of the Anning family’s residence and Mary’s first fossil shop.  The house has long gone, but in its place stands the Lyme Regis Museum which contains numerous displays of Mary’s fossil discoveries as well as some of her personal effects.

The Blue Plaque on the Wall of the Lyme Regis Museum Commemorating the Life and Work of Mary Anning

Mary Anning 1799-1847 - her blue plaque.

The blue plaque commemorating the birth of Mary Anning outside the Lyme Regis Museum.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

8 09, 2018

Crystal Palace Statues Helping to Change Perceptions

By | September 8th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Press Releases, Teaching|1 Comment

Crystal Palace Statues Helping with Outdoor Learning

Recently, Everything Dinosaur has been providing advice on how best to utilise the outdoor resources at the famous Crystal Palace Park in south London.  Schools have been invited to make the most of this area, with its historic “dinosaur statues”.  Outdoor learning is being encouraged and the park with its hard and soft landscaping as well as its iconic prehistoric animal figures makes a fantastic open space for creative activities linked to the English national curriculum.

One of the Dinosaur Statues on Display at the Park (Megalosaurus)

The Megalosaurus dinosaur at Crystal Palace Park.

The Megalosaurus statue at Crystal Palace – a dinosaur from 1854.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Prehistoric Animal Figures Not Just Dinosaurs

In reality, dinosaurs make up only a small proportion of the more than thirty statues on display.  The figures created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins with scientific input from the soon to be knighted Sir Richard Owen, who went onto to help found the London Natural History Museum, include marine reptiles, crocodilians, turtles and extinct mammals.  They were erected in the middle of the 19th Century (circa 1854) and they represent the first attempt to create life-size, dinosaur figures.  However, our view of the Dinosauria has evolved somewhat since the 1850’s and the dinosaurs, depicted as four-footed, tail-dragging scaly lizards, is wildly inaccurate by today’s standards.

Marine Reptiles Feature at Crystal Palace – Statues Inspired by the Discoveries Made by Mary Anning

Crystal Palace dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.

Prehistoric animal figures at Crystal Palace, the world’s first “Jurassic Park”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Grade 1 Historic Monuments

All the figures are listed on Historic England’s “National Heritage List for England” as Grade 1 monuments.  This listing recognises the historic importance of these statues and a lot has been done to help preserve the dinosaurs and other figures as part of our country’s scientific and historical heritage.

In our advisory work, team members have suggested ways in which our changing views about the Dinosauria can be incorporated into the teaching programme.  The dinosaurs represented by the figures, the first three genera to be incorporated within the order Dinosauria, Megalosaurus, Hylaeosaurus and Iguanodon, show how our interpretation of the fossil record has changed over the last 170 years or so.  The statues provide a three-dimensional testament to how scientific ideas evolve and change in the light of new evidence.

The Iguanodon (Foreground) – A Modern Interpretation of an Iguanodontid

CollectA Deluxe Mapusaurus and the CollectA Deluxe Iguanodon

The CollectA 1:40 scale Iguanodon and Mapusaurus dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The spike associated with fossils of Iguanodon is now known to have been part of the hand (a thumb spike), whereas, in the 1854 model, the lizard-like Iguanodon statue has the spike incorrectly placed on the bridge of the snout.

One of the Iguanodon Figures on Display at Crystal Palace Park

One of the Crystal Palace Iguanodon statues.

One of the Iguanodon figures on display at Crystal Palace Park.  Note the “thumb spike” placed incorrectly on the nose.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Team members at Everything Dinosaur wish all those involved in the schools outreach programme at the Park every success.

To view scientifically accurate dinosaur models, including a 1:40 scale replica of an Iguanodon (I. bernissartensis): CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models and Figures

13 07, 2018

Young Palaeontologist Asks Questions About Dinosaurs

By | July 13th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Ethan Asks About Dinosaurs

Budding young palaeontologist Ethan and his friends at Longmoor Community Primary School in Liverpool (north-west England), have been learning all about dinosaurs and life in the past this term, aided and supported by their Reception class teachers.  Whilst on a visit to the school to work with class 1 and class 2 to deliver a dinosaur and fossil themed workshop, our dinosaur expert was presented with a list of questions that Ethan had prepared.

Ethan’s Questions About Dinosaurs

Asking questions about dinosaurs.

Ethan presented Everything Dinosaur with some questions.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Longmoor Community Primary School

Questions About Dinosaurs Prepared at Home

Ethan’s teacher informed us that many of the children had thought of questions about prehistoric animals as they progressed through their term topic.  These questions had been pinned up onto the classroom display board and the eager fossil hunters in the Reception classes had set about researching the answers as they enthusiastically learned about dinosaurs.  Ethan had prepared his questions at home, he had set his own homework.  The classroom was filled with lots of examples of the children’s work, including super writing, “cotton bud skeletons” and dinosaur fact sheets that the children had made.  The classes had even built their own dinosaur museum!

Drawings of Dinosaurs Produced by Reception Class

Dinosaur drawings from Reception.

Class 2 produced some wonderful dinosaur drawings.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Longmoor Community Primary School

Ethan’s Questions

Ethan wanted to know did Tyrannosaurus rex eat meat?

T. rex was definitely a meat-eater (carnivore).  Palaeontologists can get a good idea about what an extinct animal ate by studying their fossil teeth.  Tyrannosaurus rex is regarded as a hypercarnivore, this means that it got at least 70% of its food from eating other animals.  Cats are also regarded as hypercarnivores, which means, if you have a pet cat, it probably loves eating meat as much as T. rex did!

Ethan asked does a Spinosaurus eat fish?

The jaws of Spinosaurus were very long and they were filled with up to two hundred, sharp and very pointed teeth.  These teeth would have been ideal for catching and holding slippery fish.  Palaeontologists know that when Spinosaurus roamed North Africa about 100 million years ago, there were lots of large lakes and rivers that teemed with fish.  Fossils of this large, dinosaur are usually found near ancient sources of water.  In 1975, part of a fossilised jaw of a Spinosaurus was found and it had a bone from a huge sawfish called Onchopristis (Onk-coe-pris-tis) stuck in it.  Palaeontologists also believe that Spinosaurus spent a lot of its time in water, so it is very likely that Spinosaurus did eat fish.  An animal that eats fish is called a piscivore (pie-see-vore).

A Picture of a Spinosaurus Going for a Swim

Spinosaurus swimming.

Spinosaurus – very much at home in the water.  An Onchopristis (sawfish) is trying to avoid being eaten.

Picture Credit: Davide Bonnadonna, Nizar Ibrahim, Simone Maganuco

Pelicans, otters and penguins are also piscivores, can you name any other animals that also eat fish?

Ethan and his friends in the Reception classes at Longmoor Community Primary have had great fun learning all about dinosaurs this term.

13 06, 2018

Sooty Owls Send in Questions

By | June 13th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Reception Class (Sooty Owls) Send in Questions

Our congratulations to all the budding palaeontologists in Sooty Owls class (Foundation Stage 2), at Laithes Primary in south Yorkshire for compiling such a fascinating set of questions about dinosaurs.  The children in Foundation Stage at this Barnsley school have just started their summer term topic and they are very excited to be learning about dinosaurs and life in the past.

Questions Compiled by Sooty Owls for Everything Dinosaur

Foundation Stage children think up questions about dinosaurs.

The children in the Sooty Owls class have compiled a set of questions about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Laithes Primary School

Why do Dinosaurs Roar?

Sophie asked why do dinosaurs roar?  This is a very difficult question to answer as we don’t have a living Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus or any other non-avian dinosaur to study.  Dinosaurs certainly do a lot of loud roaring in movies like “Jurassic Park”, but it is hard to work out what sort of sounds they made by just studying the fossilised bones alone.  Having said that, the tiny bones of the inner ear that have been found have given palaeontologists some ideas as to the sort of sounds that these animals might have heard.  Dinosaurs seem to have had good hearing so they probably did make some sounds, perhaps some of the smaller dinosaurs might have chirped like their near relatives the birds.  Other dinosaurs might have squawked, twittered or clucked, whilst very big dinosaurs may have made low frequency rumbling sounds, the vibrations of which, could have been detected by their feet (elephants are believed to be able to detect low frequency sounds in this way).

Some Very Big Dinosaurs Could have Picked Up Sounds Using their Feet

Spinophosaurus dinosaur life reconstruction.

Some very big dinosaurs could have picked up sounds using their feet.

When do Dinosaurs Sleep?

Emir wanted to know about dinosaur sleeping habits.  He asked when do dinosaurs sleep?  There are lots and lots of different types of dinosaurs and some of them were probably nocturnal (active at night), so these types of dinosaurs would have slept during the day.  Can the children in Sooty Owls class make a list of animals alive today that are nocturnal?  Most dinosaurs would have slept at night, just like we do, but all dinosaurs would have probably napped from time to time to.  Palaeontologists have found fossils of sleeping dinosaurs.  Some dinosaurs may have slept with one eye open so that they could stay safe.

A Sleeping Dinosaur (Mei long)

Mei long illustration.

Did dinosaurs sleep with one eye open?

The fossils of the dinosaur from China called Mei long, suggest that some dinosaurs slept like birds.  The name Mei long means “sleeping dragon”.

Were Dinosaurs Cold-blooded?

Tyler asked were dinosaurs cold-blooded?  Reptiles that are alive today, animals like snakes, lizards and crocodiles, have to rely on external sources of heat to help them keep warm and active.  Reptiles bask in the sun, using the heat from the sun to warm their bodies.  It is likely that most dinosaurs, which were probably much more active than snakes and crocodiles, were not cold-blooded, that is, they could have maintained a body temperature that was warmer than their surroundings.  Many dinosaurs had feathers and these feathers helped trap body heat to keep these dinosaurs from getting too cold.

Some dinosaurs lived in Antarctica and some dinosaurs lived in the Arctic Circle, so they would have been well-used to chilly conditions.  Mammals and birds are warm-blooded, birds are very closely related to dinosaurs.

Warm-blooded or Cold-blooded Dinosaurs?

warm-blooded or cold-blooded dinosaurs?

Where on the spectrum between endothermic and ectothermic are the Dinosauria?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Would a T. rex Bite My Arm?

Rayen wanted to know about Tyrannosaurus rex and asked the following question – would T. rex bite my arm?  Tyrannosaurus rex was a meat-eating dinosaur, if it was around today, then a T. rex might indeed try to eat you.  T. rex was so big that he could have eaten everyone in Sooty Owls class for dinner and eaten the class teacher for dessert.  A fully-grown T. rex would have been capable of swallowing Rayen in one big bite!  It is reassuring to know that these types of dinosaurs, known as the non-avian dinosaurs are extinct!

Our thanks once again to the children in Sooty Owls class for compiling such a wonderful set of dinosaur themed questions.

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