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.

19 08, 2018

Helping Out Year 5

By | August 19th, 2018|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Helping Out Year 5

Providing Extra Resources for Upper Key Stage 2

Many teachers and teaching assistants are busy planning their forthcoming scheme of work as they prepare for the start of the next academic year.  Recently, Everything Dinosaur was contacted by a Year 5 teacher who was working on lesson plans for the science element of the national curriculum, specifically that part of the topic area that covered evolution, natural selection and Darwinism.  They intended to look at the geology of their local area and explain what life was like in the very distant past.  Around 300 million years ago, the school would have been underwater, covered by a shallow tropical sea that teemed with life.

Evidence for this can be found in the numerous limestone outcrops in the area.  The limestone is used as a local building material and the teacher planned to use these resources to help explain about the area’s geological past.

Setting Out to Explore the Local Geology of the Area

Using local resources to help to inspire children.

Evidence of an ancient tropical sea to be found on the school buildings.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows a form of limestone called oolitic limestone.  The term means “egg stone”, as the texture of the rock’s surface resembles fish eggs.  The circular patterns are the remains of ooliths that make up the limestone rock.  Fragments of sea shell, or grains of sand are rolled around on the sea floor and as they move they collect CaCO3 (calcium carbonate).  Concentric layers of this material are formed and it is these that give the rock its characteristic appearance.  The teacher hopes to inspire the Year 5 pupils by showing them the geology on their doorstep.

The School Would Have Been Underwater Millions of Years Ago

Life in the Palaeozoic.

An ancient sea scene.

Picture Credit: Open University/Everything Dinosaur

Team members supplied some extra resources and provided advice to help this teacher plan for this very creative topic area.

2 08, 2018

A “Spikyosaurus”

By | August 2nd, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on A “Spikyosaurus”

A Colourful Dinosaur Drawing

Our thanks to young dinosaur fan Neve, who after attending one of our family friendly dinosaur and fossil workshops, was inspired to send in to us a drawing of their very own design for a dinosaur.  Neve even gave this prehistoric animal a name, this very colourful dinosaur is called “Spikyosaurus”.

A Very Bright, Colourful and Spiky Dinosaur Drawing

A very spiky dinosaur drawing.

Say hello to “Spikyosaurus”, a dinosaur designed and drawn by Neve.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Armoured Dinosaurs

Palaeontologists are aware that there were lots of armoured dinosaurs.  The first armoured dinosaurs evolved in the Early Jurassic.  These plant-eaters were distinguished by the presence of bony scales on their backs and flanks.  These dinosaurs evolved from the Ornithischian line (bird-hipped dinosaurs).  Armour probably evolved in herbivorous dinosaurs to provide protection against the rapidly evolving carnivorous dinosaurs.  The last of the armoured dinosaurs died out at the very end of the Cretaceous.

Can your children or class name animals alive today that have armour?

Our thanks to Neve for sending in such a colourful and well-described dinosaur drawing.

16 06, 2018

Dinosaur Designs and Drawings

By | June 16th, 2018|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Dinosaur Designs and Drawings

Dinosaur Designs and Drawings Sent in by Year 2 Children

It is always a pleasure to receive feedback after a dinosaur workshop in school.  Take for example, these amazing dinosaur drawings sent in to our offices by Year 2 children following a visit to their primary school.

Children in Year 2 Send in Dinosaur Drawings and Designs

Dinosaur drawings sent in by Year 2.

Children in Year 2 sent in some amazing dinosaur drawings and designs.

Picture Credit: Year 2 (Great Wood Primary/Everything Dinosaur)

During our dinosaur and fossil workshop with the class, we challenged the children to design their very own prehistoric animal.  They had to consider whether it would be a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore and in addition, they were asked to consider where the animal might live (considering habitat) and how it might survive in the age of dinosaurs (thinking about adaptations).

We certainly received some very colourful, imaginative dinosaur designs.  Our thanks to all the children who took part and to their hardworking, dedicated teaching team.

12 06, 2018

The Prehistoric Animals that Feature in “Fallen Kingdom”

By | June 12th, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on The Prehistoric Animals that Feature in “Fallen Kingdom”

“Fallen Kingdom” – Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

In response to the numerous requests from young dinosaur fans who have seen the latest instalment in the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” film franchise – “Fallen Kingdom”, here is a list of the prehistoric animals that we spotted in the movie.  In total, Everything Dinosaur team members spotted seventeen different prehistoric animals, how many did you see?

Hitting our Cinema Screens at Present – “Fallen Kingdom”

"Fallen Kingdom" film poster.

The official film poster for “Fallen Kingdom”.

Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Everything Dinosaur’s List of the Prehistoric Animals in “Fallen Kingdom”

  • Allosaurus – a big, carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic.
  • Ankylosaurus – an armoured dinosaur, a herbivore from the Late Cretaceous of North America.
  • Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus – a giant, long-necked plant-eating dinosaur from the Late Jurassic.
  • Baryonyx – a carnivorous dinosaur that may have specialised in catching fish, the first fossils of which were found in southern England.  Baryonyx lived during the Early Cretaceous of Europe.
  • Brachiosaurus – an enormous, plant-eating, long-necked dinosaur from the Late Jurassic.
  • Carnotaurus – a predatory dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of South America.
  • Compsognathus – at around a metre in length, the smallest non-avian dinosaur inhabitant of Isla Nublar.  This little dinosaur lived in Europe during the Late Jurassic.
  • Gallimimus – a fast-running, “ostrich mimic” dinosaur that lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous.
  • Mosasaurus – not a dinosaur, but a marine reptile that belongs to the same group of reptiles as lizards and snakes.  These predators lived during the Cretaceous.
  • Pteranodon – also not a dinosaur, but a flying reptile from the Late Cretaceous, a pterosaur.  Pteranodon fossils have been found in North America, England and Asia.
  • Sinoceratops – a member of the horned dinosaur group, it roamed China towards the end of the “Age of Dinosaurs”.
  • Stegosaurus – “roof lizard”, a herbivore from the Late Jurassic of America.
  • Stygimoloch – a “bone-headed” dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America which was good at knocking down walls if the movie is to be believed!
  • Triceratops – one of the most famous of all the plant-eating dinosaurs.  Triceratops lived at the very end of the Cretaceous.  Its fossils have been found in North America.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex – no dinosaur film would be complete without an appearance of T. rex.  The “king of the tyrant lizards”, lived in North America and its fossils are associated with Upper Cretaceous sedimentary deposits.
  • Velociraptor – The “raptor” called Blue which was reared and brought up by animal trainer Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt).  Velociraptor lived during the Late Cretaceous of Asia.

A Model of a Blue Velociraptor

Velociraptor dinosaur model.

A model of a Velociraptor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last But Not Least – Indoraptor

Last but not least, comes Indoraptor, a dinosaur created from the DNA from Indominus rex – the monstrous carnivore from the previous film in the franchise – “Jurassic World” and Velociraptor.

Look out for the sequel which is scheduled for release in June 2021.  What dinosaurs do you think should be in this film?

20 05, 2018

Dinosaur Food Webs

By | May 20th, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Dinosaur Food Webs

Dinosaur Food Webs

The national curriculum of England science programme outlines the fundamental topics to be taught to various age groups to provide a broad foundation for future scientific study.  Key elements include providing a basis for making sense of our planet (understanding our world) and developing the rational required to examine problems, look for evidence and to test via experimentation (scientific working).  In Key Stage 1, children are expected to be able to distinguish between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.  In addition, they will be expected to identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.  A term topic on dinosaurs helps to reinforce and support this learning.  At Everything Dinosaur, we have been asked to provide simple food webs to help get some of these fundamental points about ecosystems across.  After all, for most children, learning about what Tyrannosaurus rex ate can enthuse even the most reluctant biologist.

A Simplified Dinosaur Themed Food Web

A dinosaur food web.

A terrestrial food web featuring dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Basic Food Chain Principles

Children in Year 2 for example, will be required to explain how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food web.  They will be expected to identify and name different sources of food.  Food chains show the feeding relationships between animals, plants and other organisms.  Whether it is examining the biota of the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of Montana, the Savannah of Africa or the school pond, the principles regarding food webs still apply.  Food chains tend to be roughly triangular in shape with the greater amount of biomass to be found at the lower levels.  The amount of material and energy decreases from one level to the next.  Food production is much more efficient if the food chain is short.

Energy is transferred along food chains from one level to the next.  Not all of the energy available to organisms at one level can be absorbed by organisms at the next level up.  Arrows tend to show the direction of energy flows in a food chain.  At the base of most food chains is the sun, as it is sunlight that plays a role in photosynthesis, allowing plants to grow.

30 04, 2018

A Mini Dinosaur World Created in a Box

By | April 30th, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on A Mini Dinosaur World Created in a Box

A Mini Dinosaur World Created in a Box

One enterprising Year 2 pupil showed us their mini “Jurassic Park” that they had created for a school project all about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals.  The child had made their own mini dinosaur world using a cardboard box, some paints, tissue paper, small sticks and gravel.

A Mini Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Theme Park

A dinoaur scene in a box.

A mini dinosaur world created by a Year 2 pupil.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaurs look very much at home in this scene, there is a river with a waterfall, the effect of the foaming water being created by scrunching up some tissue paper.  The designer has provided the dinosaurs with a stone bridge so that they can cross safely to the other side of the river and reach the dinosaur nest composed of small sticks.  The nest contains some yellow dinosaur eggs, which are being guarded by a meat-eating dinosaur.

A large, herbivorous dinosaur, a long-necked Sauropod browses nearby and our dinosaur and fossil experts really liked the model tree complete with red fruits that had been added to the diorama.  In the background a volcano is erupting.  The brown paper makes an effective cone and the red tissue represents the lava erupting and descending the slope to threaten the prehistoric animals.

Our congratulations to the young model maker for building such a clever and colourful dinosaur diorama.

24 04, 2018

Palaeontology in a Plastic Tub

By | April 24th, 2018|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Palaeontology in a Plastic Tub

Mum Creates Mini Fossil Dig Site

We are always impressed by the efforts of parents, grandparents and guardians who do so much to help encourage and inspire their young charges.  This week, whilst visiting a primary school to conduct a series of workshops with Year 2 children, we were given a tour of the classrooms and shown some of the amazing dinosaur and fossil themed crafts and activities created by the children and their grown-up helpers.

Amongst the numerous posters, dinosaur models and prehistoric dioramas that had been made, we spotted one enterprising family’s contribution.  Mum had created a mini fossil dig for her child, a very clever idea indeed.

A Mini Fossil Dig Site Created as Part of a Term Topic Learning About Dinosaurs

Palaeontology in a plastic tub.

A mini palaeontologist fossil dig site created by a clever mum.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Palaeontologists do use brushes when working on a fossil excavation.  The general rule is, the closer you get to the fossil material the smaller the tools you use.  For example, when removing the surrounding matrix from a fossil bone in the field, we use small brushes and tiny dental picks, to take away the surrounding rock, one grain at a time.  In this way, progress may be very slow but at least the fossil is protected and not likely to be damaged.

To create her “palaeontology in a plastic tub”, the mum made salt dough fossils and rolled up pieces of white paper to represent bones.  An old paint brush makes an ideal tool for brushing off the dirt, so this budding young scientist can find and identify the fossils.

What a simple, but very effective idea!

18 04, 2018

Children Build A Swamp for Their Dinosaurs

By | April 18th, 2018|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Children Build A Swamp for Their Dinosaurs

A Dinosaur Swamp

Children in Year 1 at Earlswood Infant & Nursery School in Surrey had a “dinotastic” time yesterday, as one of our dinosaur experts visited to deliver workshops to help kick-start their summer term topic “dinosaurs”.  This larger than average school is located on two separate sites and it incorporates a popular Foundation Stage 1 cohort.  Earlswood caters from children from age three to eleven and the four classes of Year 1 pupils were relishing learning about dinosaurs, fossils and life in the past.

As part of the topic, the children had been investigating different habitats for animals.  Badger class had built a swamp for their dinosaur and prehistoric animal models to live in.   They had thought carefully about the sort of resources the animals would have required to keep them healthy and happy.

Badgers Class (Year 1) Have Built a Swamp for their Dinosaurs

A swamp home for dinosaurs.

Children explore habitats – a swamp for dinosaurs to live in.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Earlswood Infant & Nursery School

 The teacher had included some feathers to remind the eager learners that many dinosaurs may have been feathered and that the closest living relatives of the dinosaurs are birds.

High Expectations for Young Learners

The staff have high expectations for the children both academically and socially and the dedicated senior leadership of the school places great emphasis on personal, social and emotional development.  The Reception children even got involved with the reptile themed day, with a visit from a pet tortoise!

16 03, 2018

Investigating Fossils

By | March 16th, 2018|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Investigating Fossils

Fossil Investigation – Learning About Mary Anning

Our dinosaur expert spotted a very busy fossil investigation table whilst on a visit to Altrincham Preparatory School to work with the two classes of Year 1 children who are currently studying dinosaurs and fossils.  The boys have been learning all about the life and work of Mary Anning and most of the fossils on display came from the Lyme Regis (Dorset) area which is where Mary lived.

Fossil Investigation Table

Fossil investigation as part of a term topic on Mary Anning.

Fossils from Lyme Regis spotted in a Year 1 class as children learn about Mary Anning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Altrincham Preparatory School

Mary Anning Themed Extension Resources

After an exciting morning of dinosaur and fossil workshops, our team member returned to the office and prepared additional themed extension materials that were then emailed over to the school.  Having been comprehensively briefed by the dedicated and enthusiastic Year 1 teaching staff, we were able to provide a non-chronological report compiling exercise that involved the boys researching the story of Mary Anning and learning about some of her fossil discoveries.  In addition, we were able to send over some pictures and drawing materials of prehistoric animals that once thrived in the seas and oceans of the Mesozoic.  After all, the rocks along the Dorset coast around Lyme Regis were all formed in marine conditions.

The Mary Anning Non-chronological Report Exercise Prepared for the School

A Mary Anning non-chronological report.

A non-chronological report exercise provided for KS1 pupils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Example of One of the Marine Reptile Drawings Sent to the School

Marine reptile drawing (Attenborosaurus).

Attenborosaurus marine reptile drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We look forward to seeing the prehistoric marine seascapes that the pupils create.  Perhaps they will be put up on display in the well-appointed classrooms, if so, we might receive a picture of the boy’s artwork which we can share on our various social media sites.

8 03, 2018

Geological Timelines Spotted in Year 5

By | March 8th, 2018|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Geological Timelines Spotted in Year 5

Year 5 Getting to Grips with Deep Time

Children in Year 5 at Oasis Academy Short Heath (Birmingham), got to grips with geological timescales as they commenced the term topic entitled “Jurassic World”.   The emphasis might be on developing vocabulary and improving writing but there was plenty of evidence of cross-curricular activities on display in the two well-appointed classrooms.

Year 5 Prepare a Geological Timescale and Compose Questions about Dinosaurs to Investigate

Year 5 learn about geological timescales.

Studying deep time with Year 5.

Picture Credit: Oasis Academy Short Heath/Everything Dinosaur

Exploring the Mesozoic

The Mesozoic Era is divided into three geological periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.  This enormous period of time in Earth’s history is sometimes referred to as the “Age of Dinosaurs”, as it was during the Mesozoic that the first dinosaurs evolved and the non-avian dinosaur extinction event marks the end of the Cretaceous.  The pupils in 5E and 5G have been compiling questions about dinosaurs that they want to research and during our dinosaur workshops with Year 5, our dinosaur expert was able to field the numerous questions that the children posed.  The eager, young scientists also explored the concept of extinction and they discovered that not all the Dinosauria are extinct.

What is the Geological Timescale?

A geological timescale records intervals of immense periods of time relative to one another.  Several different geological timescales exist, each one developed using slight different datasets and interpretation methods.  These timescales, recording the history of our planet (all 4.57 billion years of it), have been revised and updated since the first timescales were produced more than two hundred years ago.  As our dating techniques and knowledge improves so these timescales get reviewed and revised.  There are several academic bodies responsible for these revisions, the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Geological Society of America (GSA) for instance.  However, it is the International Commission on Stratigraphy that is generally responsible for ruling on any proposed changes.

A Geological Timescale Created by Year 5 Pupils

Year 5 get to grips with deep time.

A geological timescale spotted in a Year 5 classroom at Oasis Academy Short Heath.

Picture Credit: Oasis Academy Short Heath/Everything Dinosaur

We won’t quibble with the dates stated in the timeline sequence, for instance, the changes in our planet that mark the end of the Triassic and the beginning of the Jurassic are now dated to approximately 201.5 million years ago and not 208 million years ago, as chronicled in older text books.  Perhaps, it might be instructive for the classes to explore the current debate about the need to recognise our impact on the climate of Earth by erecting a new geological Epoch – the Anthropocene.

Here are some links to blog articles that cover this debate:

The search for the start of the Anthropocene: Scientists Search for the Anthropocene Spike

The impact of global climate change: COP21 – Global Climate Change

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