All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//Key Stage 1/2

Articles that focus on teaching ideas and activities aimed at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

11 04, 2021

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck”

By | April 11th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Early Years Foundation Reception, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Expert on the Plesiosauria, Dr Adam S. Smith (Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire), has teamed up with award-winning children’s author Jonathan Emmett to create a delightful tale explaining how some prehistoric marine reptiles developed long necks.

"The Plesiosaur's Neck"
“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Poppy is an Albertonectes, a plesiosaur named after the Canadian province of Alberta, where fossils of this giant with a seven-metre-long neck have been found, but what was that extremely long neck used for?

Poppy the Plesiosaur

Did Poppy use her enormous neck to help keep herself free of parasites? Or was she the equivalent of an electric eel generating electricity to shock any unsuspecting fish that happened to swim too close? In “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”, budding young palaeontologists get the opportunity to explore these entertaining hypotheses in a plesiosaur-themed prehistoric puzzle.

At more than eleven metres long, Albertonectes was a giant. The huge neck made up almost two-thirds of the animal’s entire body length and this delightful book examines some of the ideas that palaeontologists have proposed to explain this peculiar, plesiosaur body plan.

Checking over an exhibit.
Dr Adam Smith examining a cast of dinosaur vertebrae for an exhibition at Wollaton Hall. The talented Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum has helped to write a children’s book entitled “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

Prehistoric Puns

A mixture of playful, rhyming text and prehistoric puns guides the reader through the story. Members of the Mollusca have a prominent role to play with Alfie the ammonite and Bella the belemnite chiming in with cheeky comments whilst Dr Adam Smith ensures a smorgasbord of facts and information about life in the sea during the time of the dinosaurs. The book will entertain and inform children from 5 years and upwards in equal measure.

Beautifully illustrated by Adam Larkum, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art, “The Plesiosaur’s Neck” combines colourful characters with a cornucopia of fun facts. It is an entertaining exploration of a genuine palaeontological puzzle focused on a plesiosaur with an astonishing seventy-six bones in its neck.

Published in May 2021

“The Plesiosaurs Neck” ISBN number 9781912979424 is due to be published on the 6th of May (2021), by Uclan Publishing. Priced at £7.99 it can be purchased here: Purchase “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

19 02, 2021

A Happy Dinosaur Model

By | February 19th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Early Years Foundation Reception, Everything Dinosaur Products, General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Aaron the little T. rex dinosaur model, which is one of 48 small prehistoric animal figures currently manufactured by PNSO, is proving very popular amongst young dinosaur fans. We received an email from a mother whose daughter had just received her parcel sent by Everything Dinosaur containing some of these PNSO figures. Mum wrote to say how delighted her daughter was with her dinosaurs and she had stated that the little T. rex replica (Aaron) seemed to be a very a happy dinosaur as the model had a smile on its face.

PNSO Aaron the little Tyrannosaurus rex
A smiling T. rex dinosaur model. The PNSO Aaron the little T. rex. Is this dinosaur smiling?

Happy Dinosaurs

Ascribing emotions to a dinosaur is somewhat challenging. After all, such traits are not represented in the fossil record. However, those near relatives of the “tyrant lizard king”, the birds, do demonstrate a range of behaviours that indicate emotions and even empathy towards others.

People who keep birds as pets have stated that they can sense emotional states and energy levels and the birds change their behaviours accordingly. Parrots, pigeons and budgerigars can sulk, show jealously, excitement and affection towards their human owners. Bird intelligence has been studied for many years, Darwin considered avian intelligence and pondered on their emotional states.

PNSO Aaron the little Tyrannosaurus rex
The PNSO Aaron the little T. rex seems to be smiling. It is a very happy looking dinosaur model.

A Contented T. rex?

It is the configuration of the jaw line that perhaps gives Aaron the little T. rex dinosaur model an appearance of smiling. With his big eyes and the indication of feathers on the top of his head, his look might be interpreted as a happy, contented dinosaur.

As scientists learn more about the behaviours and cognitive abilities of extant animals in combination with rare fossils that shine a light on nesting/brooding, herd behaviour and intra-specific interactions, then we are going to see more palaeo-artists producing artwork that develops these themes.

For the young girl and her dinosaur collection, if she thinks that Aaron the little T. rex is a very happy dinosaur then this is fine by us. Aaron and the other PNSO models will help her to develop through play as she uses her imagination and creativity.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of PNSO prehistoric animal models including some “happy” dinosaurs: PNSO Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animals.

21 05, 2020

Happy Birthday Mary Anning

By | May 21st, 2020|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Happy Birthday Mary Anning

Happy Birthday Mary Anning

On this day in 1799, Mary Anning the famous fossil hunter from Lyme Regis was born.  Mary along with her brother Joseph was responsible for the discovery of some highly significant fossils from an area of Dorset which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the “Jurassic Coast”.

Mary Anning 1799-1847 (Famous Fossil Collector from Dorset)

A portrait of Mary Anning.

Mary Anning 1799-1847, Mary’s dog Tray can also be seen in this portrait.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Like many children growing up in Georgian England, Mary had very little formal education, but she was able to read and in her later life she taught herself, geology and anatomy as well as becoming quite adept at scientific illustration.

She became well known for her fossil discoveries and she supplemented the family’s meagre income by selling some of her fossil finds to wealthy members of society who were encouraged to holiday in England whilst the Napoleonic Wars raged in Europe.

During her lifetime, she did not receive full credit for her discoveries including the first pterosaur (flying reptile), to be found outside Germany.  For example, as a woman, she was not permitted to join the Geological Society of London, an institute that was to remain closed to women members until 1919.

In 2010, the Royal Society named Mary Anning as one of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.  Learning the story of Mary Anning and her fossil discoveries is often integrated into the “Rocks and Fossils” scheme of work which forms part of the Year 3 science curriculum in England.

30 04, 2020

“Crazy Beast” Lived Amongst the Last of the Dinosaurs

By | April 30th, 2020|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on “Crazy Beast” Lived Amongst the Last of the Dinosaurs

Adalatherium hui – “Crazy Beast” from Madagascar

Scientists have published a scientific paper in the academic journal “Nature” that describes a cat-sized mammal that lived alongside the dinosaurs at the very end of the Cretaceous.  The furry little creature has been named Adalatherium hui and its fossils have been found on the island of Madagascar.  Madagascar started to  break away from the super-continent of Gondwana around 88 million years ago and so animals such as Adalatherium evolved in relative isolation, separated from other populations of mammals on larger landmasses.  At around three kilograms in weight and not being fully grown when it died, it challenges the perception that all mammals were very small during the time of the dinosaurs.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous Mammaliaform Adalatherium hui

Late Cretaceous mammaliaform Adalatherium.

Adalatherium life reconstruction.  Although it is thought this animal lived in burrows like a modern badger, the colouration of this life reconstruction is speculative.

Picture Credit: Reuters

“Crazy Beast”

Adalatherium lived around 72 million to 66 million years ago (Late Cretaceous).  The genus name translated from the Greek and native Malagasy means “crazy beast”, as the discovery of skull and postcranial fossil material of this badger-like creature challenges a lot of scientific assumptions about the evolution of mammals during the latter stages of the Mesozoic.  The snout had a large congregation of nerves within it, making the nose of this animal extremely sensitive.  This suggests that sense of smell was very important and therefore, it has been proposed that Adalatherium lived underground, that it was a burrowing animal (fossorial – an animal adapted to digging and living in burrows).

Adalatherium shared its island home with a number of predatory dinosaurs, including abelisaurids, dromaeosaurs and noasaurids as well as at least three species of crocodilians, both ancient forms and distant relatives of today’s living crocodiles (Neosuchian crocodilians).

Perhaps living underground was a very sensible strategy when surrounded by large predators.

Extensions

  • Make a list of animals alive today that live in burrows
  • What similarities do they have?  What differences can you spot?
  • Can you design a dinosaur that could live underground?  What sort of adaptations would this animal have?
3 04, 2020

Everything Dinosaur Supporting Teachers and Home Educators

By | April 3rd, 2020|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Everything Dinosaur Supporting Teachers and Home Educators

Everything Dinosaur Supporting Teachers and Home Educators

For the staff at Everything Dinosaur, the interests of our customers, our team members and our communities are at the very heart of all that we do.  At this particularly challenging time with the continuing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we want to do our best to help all those people having to teach children either at home or in school.

We want to let you know that you remain our top priority and we are doing all we can to assist schools, parents, guardians, nurseries and home educators.

To date, Everything Dinosaur has provided hundreds of free downloads of teaching materials and other resources.

Take for example, this free junior word search that we have been sending out.  Aimed at young children with a fascination for dinosaurs, our word search contains seven words associated with dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, can you find them all?

Everything Dinosaur Providing a Free Junior Dinosaur Themed Word Search Puzzle

A dinosaur themed word search puzzle.

Everything Dinosaur team members have created a junior dinosaur-themed word search puzzle.  It is available free of charge.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Benefits of Word Search Puzzles

Word games such as word search puzzles have many benefits.  Firstly, they assist with the development of pattern recognition, a key cognitive function in humans.  For young dinosaur fans, our word search also improves spelling, assists in vocabulary development and above all, it is fun.

The word search puzzle (and the answers), can be requested by simply emailing Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur to Request our Dinosaur Themed Word Search Puzzle.

A spokesperson for the UK-based company commented:

“Over the last few weeks, we have all been working very hard to support teachers and home educators.  With many children now at home and unable to go to school, we have been providing lots of helpful teaching resources and other learning materials to help assist with home schooling.”

Extension Idea

How about creating your own wordsearch?  It could be about dinosaurs or any other subject that you wish.  If you are learning about the Romans, why not try creating a Roman-themed word search that you can try out on a family member.  Perhaps, you could record the time it takes for each person to complete the challenge and create a chart to display the results.

14 01, 2020

Ysgol Maes Owen – Deinosoriaid

By | January 14th, 2020|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Ysgol Maes Owen – Deinosoriaid

Ysgol Maes Owen – Deinosoriaid

The children in Year 3 and Year 4 at Ysgol Maes Owen in North Wales have been studying dinosaurs and fossils this spring term.  The eager young palaeontologists constructed a “dinosaur island” and are researching prehistoric animals so that they can populate their own “Jurassic World”.  As part of  the term topic, the enthusiastic teaching team have challenged the children to learn lots of dinosaur facts and to build a set of dinosaur “Top Trumps”.  We hope our advice about which was the cleverest dinosaur helped.

With four workshops to squeeze into the day, a classroom had to be allocated for the visitor from Everything Dinosaur.  Not to worry, there was plenty of space in the classroom to put all the resources our dinosaur expert had brought and there was still room to have a go at creeping through a forest like a giant, armoured dinosaur.

During wet play (thanks to storm Brendan), Lilly demonstrated her appreciation of dinosaurs (deinosoriaid), she certainly enjoys learning all about dinosaurs as her note (below) shows.

Lilly Shows Her Appreciation for Dinosaurs

Lilly showing her appreciation of dinosaurs.

Lilly loves dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Ysgol Maes Owen/Everything Dinosaur

We are sure the footprint measuring resources along with the dinosaur timeline lesson plan we provided will help the teaching team with this exciting topic.

10 12, 2019

Dinosaurs Help with Sentence Construction

By | December 10th, 2019|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Dinosaurs Help with Sentence Construction

Dinosaurs Help with Sentence Construction

A team member from Everything Dinosaur spotted this innovative approach to teaching Key Stage 1 children the rudiments of sentence construction whilst on a visit to the school to conduct a dinosaur and fossil themed workshop.  In order to help the Year 1 children to understand how sentences are formed, the teacher had drawn a dinosaur and asked the children to describe it.  The adjectives the class came up with when they viewed the drawing were recorded and then these adjectives were used to construct a sentence.

Dinosaurs Help with Sentence Construction

Sentence construction in Lower Key Stage 1.

Looking at sentence construction in Lower Key Stage 1.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are not quite sure what the genus the dinosaur illustration represents, perhaps it is one that has yet to be formally scientifically described.  That’s not the point, when it came to using adjectives the spotty dinosaur provided the class with plenty of opportunities to come with lots of “describing words”.

6 12, 2019

Greenhill Primary Palaeontologists

By | December 6th, 2019|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Greenhill Primary Palaeontologists

Greenhill Primary Palaeontologists

Children in Year 1 at Greenhill Primary (Bury, Greater Manchester), have been busy learning all about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals this term.  A team member was given the opportunity to visit the school to work with the eager, young palaeontologists over the course of the morning.  The first part of the session was based in the spacious hall, the second part of the workshop, which involved dinosaur footprint measuring and finding fossils, took place in the well-appointed and very tidy classroom.

Year 1 Children Had Created a Play Area for Their Dinosaurs

Year 1 children explore what dinosaurs need to keep them safe and happy.

Year 1 children at Greenhill Primary have created a play area for their dinosaurs.  A great way to explore the property of materials.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As an extension exercise, our dinosaur expert challenged the children to draw a dinosaur and to label its body parts including the skull.  During the wet play, Nayaab drew and labelled a beautiful pink and blue dinosaur which was then presented to Everything Dinosaur at the conclusion of the morning’s activities.

Drawing and Labelling a Dinosaur

Drawing and labelling a pink and blue dinosaur.

Drawing and labelling a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Nayaab

14 10, 2019

Autumn Dinosaurs

By | October 14th, 2019|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Autumn Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Display Made from Leaves

Lots of Key Stage 1 children and Reception classes have been learning about dinosaurs this term.  On one of our many school visits a dinosaur expert at Everything Dinosaur spotted a colourful display of prehistoric animals that had been created using leaves.   It seems that dinosaurs are even becoming involved in forest school activities, all part of creative, imaginative and thoroughly engaging teaching schemes of work.

A Dinosaur Created from Autumn Leaves

A dinosaur leaf monster.

Dinosaurs depicted in leaves.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We come across lots of wonderful and creative curricular during our visits to schools.  We congratulate the teaching team for combining the term topic all about dinosaurs and fossils to learning about the changing environment and seasons.  This really is a great example of creative cross-curricular teaching.”

A Dinosaur Leaf Monster

Dinosaur leaf monster.

A T. rex made from leaves.  A fearsome looking Tyrannosaurus rex created using autumn leaves.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

25 04, 2019

Questions and Answers with Year 2

By | April 25th, 2019|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Questions and Answers with Year 2

Dinosaur Themed Questions and Answers

Following a morning of delivering dinosaur and fossil themed workshops with two classes of Year 2 children at Great Wood Primary (Morecambe, Lancashire), the children had prepared some fantastic questions and after packing away his equipment our dinosaur expert was invited into the classroom for a question and answer session.

Prior to his visit, the children had been introduced to the term topic and the teaching team had used the K.W.L. technique to tease out from class what they thought they knew about dinosaurs and what they would like to learn about.  From this group brainstorming session, the children used post-it notes to jot down questions that they would like to put to the visitor from Everything Dinosaur.

An Amazing Collection of Questions Compiled for Everything Dinosaur

Preparing questions prior to a visit from Everything Dinosaur.

Year 2 prepare questions about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

K.W.L. Teaching Technique

The K.W.L. acronym stands for what you KNOW, WHAT you would like to know and at the end of the teaching programme – what you have LEARNED.  This teaching method aids teachers and helps them to plan a topic area and to check understanding and learning.  It consists of three phases, firstly, the children brainstorm and say what they think they know about prehistoric animals.  During the brainstorming session, the children will make statements and assertions that provide the teaching team with details as to what the children would like to find out about dinosaurs.  The third part of the technique, which is conducted at the end of the term topic or period of learning, highlights what the children have learned.  This third phase permits the teaching team to check understanding and gives them the opportunity to reinforce leaning if required, for example, if any weak areas are identified.

Posted Up on the Classroom Wall – Lots of Questions About Dinosaurs

Year 2 Children prepare questions for Everything Dinosaur

Questions prepared by Year 2 children for Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools including dinosaur workshops with Year 2: Contact Everything Dinosaur/Request a Quotation

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