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

Articles and blog posts that examine general teaching topics and school activities.

17 10, 2022

Inaccurate Teaching Materials

By | October 17th, 2022|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, General Teaching, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur team members have visited many schools. Unfortunately, during our travels we have come across many instances of inaccurate teaching materials. Educational budgets are stretched as never before and it always disappoints team members when they discover inaccurate information about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals being used in schools.

Take for example, this teaching aid downloaded and used by a school, which we came across a few years ago during a dinosaur workshop at the school.

Inaccurate teaching materials
Unfortunately, some of the dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed teaching resources available in the UK are wildly inaccurate. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture makes a statement about dinosaurs. The fossil record does provide evidence to support the idea that like other reptiles, dinosaurs were scaly. However, the prehistoric animal depicted on the “fact card” is a pterosaur and pterosaurs are not members of the Dinosauria.

Inaccurate Teaching Materials

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that team members regularly came across inaccurate and misleading information about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in schools.

The spokesperson added:

“Organisations compile teaching materials and sell these to schools and nurseries. Unfortunately, some of the learning materials contain obvious errors and inaccuracies. When we come across these materials, we do our best to point them out to the teaching team and to offer them, free of charge, replacement teaching materials that more accurately reflect the fossil record.”

Contact Everything Dinosaur team members for advice about teaching materials: Email Everything Dinosaur Team Members.

Providing Support for Teachers and Teaching Assistants

As well as providing support for teachers and teaching assistants, Everything Dinosaur team members have assisted parents who are home educating their children. We have provided helpful teaching resources and provided links to other sources of accurate facts about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. Everything Dinosaur has also provided information about museums, events and exhibitions to visit many of which are free.

The company also provides a range of dinosaur themed toys and games including replicas of iconic animals preserved in the fossil record: Dinosaur Toys, Replicas Fossils and Gifts.

The spokesperson added that team members remained committed to helping where they could and they answered swiftly and promptly all the emails and enquiries that they received.

11 10, 2022

Fossils and Rocks with Year 3

By | October 11th, 2022|Educational Activities, General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Teaching|0 Comments

Whilst examining some old files on the Everything Dinosaur database, team members came across a picture of a wonderful dinosaur themed wall display at Pebble Brook Primary, when Everything Dinosaur visited to conduct a workshop all about dinosaurs, fossils and rocks.

The children had been studying soils, rocks and fossils as part of their work during the autumn term and to start the topic with an event, a team member was invited to the school to lead a series of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops for the day.

During a pause in the busy schedule, a photograph of a very colourful wall display created by the children was taken.

A Delightful and Colourful Dinosaur Wall Display

Fossils and rocks studied by Year 3 pupils.
Year 3 children learn about dinosaurs, fossils, rocks and volcanoes in a term topic entitled “Dinosaurs Yabba Dabba Doo”! Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Pebble Brook Primary.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Pebble Brook Primary

Exploring Fossils and Rocks

The children investigated how fossils form, how they feel and what they can tell us about animals that lived in the past and extinction. For the science element of the term topic, the class have been examining numerous types of rock, exploring the school grounds and the buildings to identify different types of stone and rock.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We remember visiting the school on a couple of occasions to work with different classes and enrich their curriculum. The classrooms were full of colourful artwork and delightful wall displays. We all had a great time”

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide range of prehistoric animal themed crafts and art materials as well as replicas of dinosaurs and famous animals such as trilobites, belemnites and ammonites from the fossil record. All the items that the UK-based mail order company stocks have been tested and approved by the company’s teaching team.

To view the range of products available, visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur Crafts for Kids.

26 07, 2022

Remembering School Workshops in Blackpool

By | July 26th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Press Releases|0 Comments

Whilst reviewing some old files in the Everything Dinosaur offices as part of our compliance with GDPR regulations, team members came across some feedback from teachers after we had delivered as series of prehistoric animal themed workshops at Unity Academy in Lancashire.

Everything Dinosaur had been invited to participate in the “Blackpool Celebrating Science Conference”. This event, which took place back in 2015 is well remembered by our staff. We prepared and delivered two workshops around the theme of “A Jurassic World”. We received excellent feedback from the teachers that observed our workshops.

One teacher commented:

“Fabulous! Very interesting! Children really engaged and focused. Thoroughly, enjoyed it – thank you.”

Feedback from Blackpool
Five stars for Everything Dinosaur. Excellent feedback received by Everything Dinosaur after workshops supporting the “Blackpool Celebrating Science Conference”.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

A second teacher, who attended one of our workshops with her Key Stage 2 pupils added:

“Very informative and entertaining”

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated that team members were delighted to have received the feedback and it was a pleasure working with all the enthusiastic and highly motivated children.

To view the range of educational prehistoric animal toys and gifts available from Everything Dinosaur’s user-friendly and award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

21 05, 2022

The “Prehistoric Secret Science Show” at Wollaton Hall (Nottingham)

By | May 21st, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, General Teaching, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Those enthusiastic scientists and educationalists at Wollaton Hall (Nottingham), are hosting an exclusive “Prehistoric Secret Science Show” on Tuesday 24th May, 2022 (4.30pm to 8.45pm). It will feature a veritable cornucopia of talks, presentations and workshops plus the chance to meet professionals engaged in current scientific research on Tyrannosaurus rex!

Prehistoric Secret Science Show at Wollaton Hall (Nottingham).
Led by the Nottingham City Museum’s Learning and Education team, the evening event (Prehistoric Secret Science Show), will showcase a range of speakers from the University of Nottingham, the University of Birmingham, Rutland Water Nature Reserve, as well as Nottingham City Museum’s Curator of Natural Sciences, Dr Adam Smith.

An Exclusive Event

Organised by those dedicated and talented members of Nottingham City Museum’s Learning and Education team, this evening event “Prehistoric Secret Science Show”, will showcase a range of speakers from the University of Birmingham, Rutland Water Nature Reserve and the University of Nottingham. Palaeontologist Dr Adam Smith (Nottingham Museum’s Curator of Natural Sciences), a world authority on Mesozoic marine reptiles will also be presenting.

More details about this exciting event can be found here: Wollaton Hall “Prehistoric Secret Science Show”.

Titus T. rex is King in secret science show.
Those enthusiastic scientists at Wollaton Hall (Nottingham) are hosting an exclusive “Prehistoric Secret Science Show” which will feature a tour of the “Titus” T. rex is King exhibition as well as chance to meet some of the scientists currently studying this iconic dinosaur.

Natural Science and Dinosaurs

This exclusive event is ideal for anyone interested in prehistoric life, palaeontology, Natural Science and dinosaurs, it has been especially designed for children at upper primary or secondary school, college, university and adults. It looks set to be an interesting evening that covers a wide range of topics, plus gives everyone the opportunity to meet “Titus” the Tyrannosaurus rex exhibit too!

Wollaton Hall secret science show (May 2022).
Meet scientists including leading palaeontologists at the “Prehistoric Secret Science Show” being held at the “Titus” T. rex is King exhibition at Wollaton Hall.

Event Details

Date: Tuesday 24th May (2022)

Location: Wollaton Hall (Nottingham)

Entry: 4.30pm

Event ends: 8.45pm

Ticket Prices – Adult: £15 Ticket Prices – Child £10

Schools and other large groups have one free adult per ten children with additional adults at the usual £15. Contact the event organisers for more information.

Event is open to all ages, including children at secondary school, college, university and adults. It is aimed especially for children over ten years old, although anyone with a keen interest in dinosaurs would be welcome.

Free entry for carers when accompanying a paid ticket. Please note car parking charges apply.

Further details can be found here: Wollaton Hall “Prehistoric Secret Science Show”.

16 05, 2022

A Knitted Geological Time Scale

By | May 16th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, General Teaching, Geology, Main Page, Photos, Teaching|0 Comments

It can be difficult to visualise the immensely long geological time scale and to demonstrate what lifeforms developed along the way, so, why not knit one and use prehistoric animal models to illustrate key moments in the history of life on Earth.

That’s exactly what Sue Mallender, Learning Programmes Science Officer, (Nottingham City Museums) and the Learning and Engagement team did – creating a colourful and striking depiction of the evolution of life on Earth.

Knitted geological time scale.
Sue Mallender, Learning Programmes Science Officer, Nottingham City Museums (UK) has found a novel way of demonstrating deep time. The geological time scale has been knitted and prehistoric animal models placed on it at the appropriate point to demonstrate the evolution of life on Earth. Picture credit: Sue Mallender.

Visualising Geological Time

In order to study the history of life, scientists need to locate important evolutionary events such as the development of animals with exoskeletons and the evolution of vertebrates within the geological time scale. Planet Earth was formed around 4.57 billion years ago. Geologists have divided the history of our planet into time intervals of varying duration. This time scale was devised in the 19th century, (although amendments to it and revisions continue to be made). The boundaries between the time intervals mark notable events such as dramatic changes in the type of fossils found in strata.

Knitted geological time scale.
Demonstrating deep geological time in knitted form. The geological time scale knitted by Helen Crowfoot. Picture credit: Sue Mallender.

It is difficult to understand geological time and a knitted time scale, with each boundary carefully produced in a contrasting-coloured wool provides a novel and very innovative way of demonstrating this fundamental aspect of geology.

This colourful visualisation of the age of our planet was created by dedicated knitter Helen Crowfoot.

The “Slow Burning Fuse” to Complex Life

The long interval of time from the origin of the Earth to the start of the Cambrian is referred to as the Cryptozoic Eon (meaning hidden life). This enormous time interval is also referred to as the Precambrian. Its length in comparison to the Phanerozoic Eon (visible life) – the time interval to the present day, is dramatically demonstrated in the knitted time scale by the burgundy-coloured strip.

Some palaeontologists have described the Cryptozoic Eon as the “slow burning fuse to complex life.”

Demonstrating the Cryptozoic Eon in knitted form.
A novel way of demonstrating the Cryptozoic Eon, informally known as the Precambrian – the immensely long period of time before complex life evolved on Earth. It is depicted in the time scale in burgundy. Picture credit: Sue Mallender.

Cambrian Creatures

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that they had been contacted about this innovative project and ask to recommend prehistoric animal models that could be placed along the time scale to depict the sort of creatures that evolved during the main geological periods.

The Everything Dinosaur spokesperson explained:

“We started with the Cambrian, suggesting some figures that could represent some of the first, large complex animals and then worked forwards from there recommending various models that could be used to populate the knitted time scale.”

Cambrian animal models on knitted time line.
The Safari Ltd Cambrian Toob models placed on the knitted timeline. Picture credit: Sue Mallender.

The spokesperson added:

“What a super idea! This is a fantastic way to visualise geological time and we congratulate Sue and the Learning and Engagement team for such an innovative and creative way of demonstrating how life on our planet has changed over millions of years.”

9 07, 2021

Providing Advice About Visiting Lyme Regis

By | July 9th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, General Teaching, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

As Everything Dinosaur team members have written quite a lot about staying safe when visiting the beaches around Lyme Regis on the famous Jurassic Coast of southern England, we are now receiving emails from first time visitors to Dorset asking for our advice.

Our dedicated team members are happy to provide assistance and to direct these enquiries to the local tourist information office and various visitor centres.

Some of the recently built sea defences around Lyme Regis. Stonebarrow and Golden Cap can be seen in the background. The stunning and very beautiful part of the UNESCO World Heritage site around the picturesque town of Lyme Regis (Dorset) – the “Jurassic Coast”.

Our Advice

As the school holidays approach many families are wanting to have a vacation in the UK rather than travel abroad. The Dorset coast is a popular destination and first-time visitors have turned to Everything Dinosaur for advice on staying safe when visiting the beaches. Whilst team members can provide general information and guidance it is important that visitors obey any local notices that have been posted up.

Avoid the cliffs, don’t go near them and whatever you do please do not attempt to climb them. For further information about visiting the beaches around Lyme Regis: Visiting Lyme Regis in Summer. If you are at Charmouth, pop into the local Heritage Centre and ask their advice, you may also be able to book a fossil walk or at least enquire about availability.

Supervised fossil walks are always a good idea, most are now fully booked but it might be worthwhile emailing local guides and enquiring. Brandon Lennon is one of the most respected in the area, he can be contacted here: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks.

For further advice you can visit the local Lyme Regis Tourist Information centre located in the town centre of Lyme Regis – 62, Church Street, Lyme Regis DT7 3BS. Local knowledge can be invaluable.

If you want specific information about tides and beach safety, you can enquire at the lifeboat station down on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. Alternatively, there are a number of websites that provide information about high and low tides on this part of the coast, or for a small fee, an annual tide timetable can be purchased.

It is a good idea to go fossil collecting on a falling tide and to keep away from the steep cliffs. Everything Dinosaur team members provide general advice and guidance to visitors to Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
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?
24 04, 2020

Triceratops Encourages Learning

By | April 24th, 2020|General Teaching|Comments Off on Triceratops Encourages Learning

Triceratops Encourages Learning

The extensive range of dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources available free of charge from Everything Dinosaur are not just for teaching professionals, mums and dads can use them too!  The dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team at Everything Dinosaur have prepared a large range of teaching resources to help support and assist all those having to home school at the moment.  It can be quite hard to motivate young learners at this challenging time (coronavirus outbreak), but we have prepared lesson plan suggestions, experiments, fact sheets, schemes of work, all with a prehistoric theme to provide inspiration for the next generation of young scientists currently confined to their homes.

Don’t take our word for it, a Triceratops tells you how it is…

Triceratops Says Feel Free to use Everything Dinosaur’s Free Downloads

Triceratops sets out to encourage teachers and parents to use free downloads.

The extensive range of downloadable teaching resources including lesson plan ideas and suggestions are available free from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The download section of our teaching website can be found here: Downloads and Other Resources Available Free from Everything Dinosaur.

Exploring the Downloads Section of the Everything Dinosaur Site

To aid navigation around the downloads section of the Everything Dinosaur school website, this area has been divided into three subcategories based upon the standard teaching definitions found in most UK schools.

The subcategories are:

  • EYFS/Reception (resources suitable for children in nursery or reception classes)
  • KS1/KS2 (resources aimed at primary schools)
  • KS3/KS4 (resources aimed at those children in secondary education)

The downloads are not just for teachers, as our Triceratops states, they are available to everybody so those parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and guardians supporting home schooling can use them as well.

Feel free to help yourself, these resources have been downloaded hundreds and hundreds of times.  Just one of the ways in which Everything Dinosaur team members are helping out in these difficult times.

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