Dinosaurs were one of the most spectacular animal families ever to have lived. Most of them lived a long time ago; long before we humans were around. So how do we know so much about them? And how do we know that they aren't make-believe like fairies and unicorns? The answer is, of course, FOSSILS! Fossils give us evidence for what life was once like. This hands-on workshop is perfect for introducing young people to the notion of evidence. (It's also guaranteed to inspire a new generation of fossil-hunters!).

What does current science tell us T rex looked like? Probably... this. (from

What do you bring?


In this fun hands-on workshop pupils get a chance to uncover the mysteries of ancient life on Earth, and discover what life as a scientist is really like. As well as holding fossilised bones and teeth of extinct crocodiles, sharks and dinosaurs (including T. rex), pupils also get to search for their own ancient insects trapped in million year old amber, discovering more about ancient habitats - this is the only activity of its kind in the UK.


Fossils (include): fossil shark teeth (hundreds), plesiosaur backbones (vertebrae), ancient crocodile vertebrae, t-rex teeth (replicas), liopleurodon teeth (replicas), stegosaurus plates (replica), tricerotops horns (replica), belemnites, ammonites, mammoth tusk fragments, trilobites, sea urchins, fossil fish, mesosaur teeth and coprolites (dinosaur dung) - and much, much more...


Equipment and resources: projector, digital microscope, laptop, identification sheets.

What do you cover in the workshop?


Each session is focused on the DoE’s 2014 science programme of study and is made to measure for KS1. In terms of timings, 45 minutes normally works well but sessions can be made to measure.

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS A FOSSIL? (5 minutes): Jules welcomes pupils and discusses fossils (using dinosaur fossil examples): What are fossils? How useful are they for telling scientists about what life was like millions of years ago?

THE CREATURES THAT ONCE LIVED IN BRITAIN (15 minutes): Pupils are challenged by Jules to identify the fossil creatures (in white trays) that used to live millions of years ago in England, with Jules’s help and with use of special identification keys. Jules explains the diversity of life on Earth and the story that fossils give us: that much of Britain was underwater, and that the seas were filled with enormous reptiles (and lots else)…

WHAT DON'T WE KNOW ABOUT DINOSAURS? (15 minutes): Fossils tell us about an amazing bunch of creatures. But fossils only tell us about their hard bits: their bones and teeth. What might their colours and noises have been like? Is there anyway to learn about smaller creatures, like minibeasts, from the age of dinosaurs? (And there is. It's called amber...).

WHAT IS AMBER? (15 minutes): Jules outlines to pupils the use of amber by scientists attempting to understand the ancient habitats in which dinosaurs lived. Jules uses a digital microscope to show pupils the preserved wonders within amber (mosquitos, beetles, ants, wasps…). Pupils are challenged by Jules to look through hundreds of pieces of Madagascan amber to find their own pieces of amber evidence. What do their findings tell us about ancient habitats? (Finishes with microscopy session on big screen).




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