Extinction of the Dinosaurs

Extinction of the Dinosaurs

Inspired by the Tyrannosaurus Rex cast at The Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Key Stage:

KS2 Science National Curriculum: Primary Science. This exercise reinforces the curriculum's aim to ensure that all pupils: develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries... and the key strand of working scientifically. It supports the Year 6 requirements: Pupils should be taught to recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the earth millions of years ago” and the Year 6 non-statutory suggestion Pupils might find out about the work of paleontologists such as Mary Anning.


Suggested Classroom Activity

“Mary Anning - Uncovering Extinction”  

Show the pupils the film “Mary Anning - Uncovering Extinction” and check they understand the importance of fossils in developing the idea that animal species can become extinct and that the Earth is very old.

It is important to understand the scale of her achievement as a self-taught working-class woman at a time when science was the preserve of formally educated and wealthy men.

‘Why Conferences?’.

Check the group understand that towards the end of the last century there was some disagreement between those scientists who believed the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid hit, and those who blamed huge flows of lava. Explain that one of the ways scientific ideas develop is through conferences and show them the Prof. Lionel Wilson interview, ‘Why Conferences?’. Lionel explains why they still have an important role in the Internet Age. Divide the class into two groups; one group is given copies of the evidence used by scientists who argued for the asteroid culprit, the other group have the outline of the magma theory. Ask both groups to prepare short powerpoint presentations they will deliver to their ‘opponents’. (Template powerpoints are available below).

Play the Game

Culture Street has produced a game-app on the theme of the Dinosaur extinction. Get the pupils to play the game. Pupils will gain knowledge and understanding of types of Dinosaurs from playing the game becuase they have to collect facts to gain lives. There is a quiz element to test knowledge built into the game

Development Activity:

Get the pupils to play the Dinosaster game again, then get them to suggest ways in which it could be modified to more accurately reflect the current view of the extinction as presented by Professor Wilson.

Learning Objectives:

"Pupils will increase their understanding of ˜working scientifically'. They will learn about the role of conferences in science.  They will understand the importance of the discovery of fossils  and recent theories about the extinction of the dinosaurs. They will understand the significance of the work of Mary Anning"

Research, Notes and Links:

There are more resources on the T Rex page on Culture Street.

Download the Powerpoint templates for Asteriods

Download the Powerpoint templates for Volcanoes

Download this lesson plan