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.

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

22 04, 2019

Preparing and Extension Activity for Key Stage 1

By | April 22nd, 2019|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Preparing and Extension Activity for Key Stage 1

Dinosaur Themed Extension Activity for Key Stage 1

Everything Dinosaur team members are getting ready for the start of the summer term (UK).  Staff have a lot of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops and other activities to prepare.  For example, in a few days, a team member is visiting a school to conduct some dinosaur workshops with Year 2 classes and once the workshops have been concluded they have been invited to a question and answer session with two classes of Year 2.

As part of our extension activities to help support the teaching team’s scheme of work, we have developed a lesson plan based around answering the question how did dinosaurs keep themselves clean?

How Did Dinosaurs Keep Themselves Clean?

An extension activity for Key Stage 1.

Everything Dinosaur has prepared a pdf outlining an extension activity for schools – how did dinosaurs keep clean?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Helpful PDF – Extension Activity for Key Stage 1

To assist the teaching team, we have developed a lesson plan outlining the learning aims and objectives.  Fossil bones and teeth help scientists to work out what extinct animals looked like, what they ate and how they moved, but evidence from fossils can’t tell palaeontologists much about the way that prehistoric animals behaved.  Trace fossils such as trackways and burrows can provide some evidence, but in order to answer questions about Dinosauria hygiene, scientists have to study animals alive today in order to get some clues.  By studying living creatures palaeontologists can make educated assumptions about how extinct animals kept themselves clean.

Did Some Dinosaurs Roll Around in the Dust to Help Keep Themselves Clean?

A meat-eating dinosaur rolls around in the dust.

Some dinosaurs may have had dust baths to keep themselves clean. What type of animals today have dust baths?

Picture Credit: Mark Witton

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“When we visit schools, we like to provide additional resources to help support the topic area.   We are happy to provide lots of free information including prepared lesson plans and lesson guides.  It is all part of our extensive programme of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops in schools.”

For further information about the range of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops in schools offered by Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur and Fossil Themed Workshops in Schools – Contact Us for More Information

17 04, 2019

Symbiosis in the Dinosauria

By | April 17th, 2019|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Symbiosis in the Dinosauria

Symbiosis in the Dinosauria

Some animals alive today relay on the assistance of other animals to help them keep clean and tidy.  Tropical fish on coral reefs deliberately visit areas where “cleaner fish” congregate and they patiently wait whilst these fish clean them and remove dead skin and parasites.  In Africa, the Oxpecker (Buphagus spp.), a type of starling, regularly hitch a ride on the back of a large mammals, such as elephants and pick dead skin and parasites from their host’s hide.  These birds also catch insects disturbed as the large animals move through the scrub and bush.

It is very likely that these sorts of mutually beneficial relationships between different species occurred in the past and with dinosaurs.

A Big, Carnivorous Dinosaur Gets Her Teeth Cleaned

An example of symbiosis in the Dinosauria

Teeth cleaning in the Dinosauria.  Small Theropod dinosaurs clean the teeth of a larger carnivore.

Picture Credit: Sergey Krasovskiy

Symbiosis – Classroom Extension Ideas

Mutually beneficial activities are termed symbiotic relationships by scientists.  In the picture (above), a large Theropod dinosaur is getting its teeth cleaned by a smaller, meat-eating dinosaur.  The large dinosaur benefits from the teeth cleaning as it helps to prevent infections whilst the smaller Theropod is getting a free meal.  Symbiosis is the term used to describe an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association to the benefit of both.

  • Can your class find examples of mutual co-operation (symbiosis) in the natural world?
  • Can the class consider ways that pupils and staff at the school co-operate together?
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