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How do we know dinosaurs existed?

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The children this week have been finding out the answer to the question "If dinosaurs are extinct and died out millions of years ago, how do we know they existed?" We found out that we know lots about dinosaurs including what they looked like, how they moved and what they ate from remains that have been preserved in rocks – fossils! This has led our learning this week.

Within our personal, social and emotional development we have been working on our listening and turn taking skills. We passed a fossil around our circle and the children listened to each others ideas about what it was. Once we had discovered that it was a fossil we looked at a variety of fossils and bones on pictures and discussed how we would feel if we saw a real dinosaur, "happy" "scared" "happy cos it can be my friend" "I would love it, cos they are so cute".

To develop our communication and language skills we have learnt a few new words, excavate and excavation. We found out that excavate means dig and excavation means digging up something that is buried. We couldn't wait to excavate for bones! This led to children asking lots of questions and talking about their finds. I was amazed at how much the children do know about dinosaurs and as bones were discovered the children made links, e.g "It's got horns, it is a Triceratops. "This dinosaur has a long neck and a long tail just like a Diplodocus" "My dinosaur has wings, I think it is a Pterodactyl". Great observations!

To enhance our physical development we have been excavating fossils. We have used mallets and chisels to excavate carefully and used paintbrushes to carefully remove sand and dirt. We learnt that digging a bone out of the dirt may seem simple, but palaeontologists (people who study fossils) are careful to preserve the fossil and learn from it as they excavate. To support our gross and fine motor development we have split into our groups for ' dough disco' and 'squiggle whilst you wiggle' please see tapestry for more information. We have also continued to reinforce hand washing procedures and baking our fossil biscuits has helped to remind us the importance of this.

Our literacy focus has enabled us to find out facts as we have shared many information books, it has been lovely to have so many books come in from home for us to share too. The children have been asking questions and we have used our books to help us find out the answers. A few of the questions were " Did dinosaurs fight?" " Did dinosaurs eat carrots?" "Which dinosaur was the biggest?" – great questions. Our older children have also been excavating for their name in the sand and some of us have shown an interest in marking the letters in their name – wow!

'Ten Terrible Dinosaurs' by Paul Stickland has led our mathematics development this week. We have been counting forward to 10 and backwards from 10 and introduced the language 1 more and 1 less. We have also been recognising the numerals, counting an amount of dinosaurs to match that numeral and have enjoyed ordering the numerals 1-10.

To extend our knowledge and understanding of the world we have been talking LOTS about the different types of dinosaurs and 'Andy's Dinosaur adventures' on Cbeebies has introduced us to lots of exciting information. We have learnt that some dinosaurs didn't eat meat, some didn't have teeth, some dinosaurs could fly, some could swim. We can't wait to go on more dinosaur adventures next week!

Within our expressive arts and design we have created an excavation picture, using pasta to form dinosaur bones and tea leaves for mud. We also finished our salt dough fossils. And if that wasn't enough we have also been moving like a dinosaur. We read the story 'Stomp Dinosaur, Stomp' by Margaret Mayo and created movements to the different dinosaurs, we stomped like Tyrannosaurus Rex, swished liked Diplodocus, pounced like Velociraptor, strolled like Stegosaurus and even glided like Pteranadon. Next week we will experiment with musical instruments to create sounds of dinosaurs!

A roaring success of a week!

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