Hello Science Teachers!
A major goal of the Dawndinos project is to promote engagement with science through our outreach activities. Dinosaurs, fossils, crocodiles, birds, bipedalism, palaeontology, evolution and computer simulation are all very popular topics with students. As scientists, we always seek to increase understanding and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to encourage students to consider STEM-based careers.
Dinosaurs (and palaeontology in general) are well-known for their capability to engage students of all ages and backgrounds. Three-dimensional (3D) and digital technologies are also able to cross barriers and create engaging experiences across a diverse array of subject material. Through our Dino Club we aim to combine dinosaur palaeontology and 3D digital technology into a programme that maximizes the reach and impact of our STEM outreach work.
Before the pandemic, the Dawndinos team ran a successful after-school Dino Club in local schools. There were 5 × one-hour sessions, targeted at students aged 11–16 which were coordinated with science staff and advertised school-wide in the lead-up. Material covered the full breadth of our current research into archosaurian evolutionary biomechanics to reach students with different interests, including: Palaeontology, (session 1), Osteology & limb bone proportions (session 2), Joints & muscle (session 3), Body dimensions & computer modelling (session 4) and Whole-body biomechanics (session 5).
As it is not possible to run the club on-site at the moment, we would like to trial the club virtually online and would like to hear from secondary schools that would be interested in participating using Zoom. We are flexible in our approach and could run the club after school, at lunchtime or another time to suit your schools’ timetable. We are happy to do a one-off session, or any number up to the full 5 sessions. We would of course discuss the format with you beforehand but it is likely that sessions will include a slideshow, introduction to content & background by a Dawndinos researcher, followed by mostly computer-based activities and a quiz at the end.
When promoting the Dino Club, the following short description gives a good idea of what students can expect at the sessions.
“Explore the exciting world of early dinosaurs with the DAWNDINOS research team from the Royal Veterinary College at five special science club sessions.
From about 245 to 66 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth and were among the most successful group of vertebrate animals ever to walk on the planet. So why were dinosaurs so successful and why did they become so dominant across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary?
Professor Hutchinson and his team of researchers will look at life in the Triassic period, mass extinctions and ecosystems. You will have the opportunity to learn about evolutionary diversification and adaptation, species that are under threat of extinction and climate change.
The DAWNDINOS team will explain how cutting-edge techniques are used in their research and have revolutionised the study of animal biomechanics and locomotion. They will look at 3D digital modelling and how the anatomical data from the living relatives of Triassic crocodiles and dinosaurs will help estimate muscle function and movement in these extinct animals. You will have the chance to play with computer software and flesh out skeletons of dinosaurs!
See how these world-leading experts have started to develop computer simulations to estimate how different species of extinct archosaurs – the group of animals that includes crocodiles, birds, their relatives and dinosaurs – might have moved!
COME ALONG! Our Dino Club sessions are not to be missed. They are for budding scientists and dinosaur enthusiasts alike!”
If your school is interested all you need to do is email the information below to Louise Kermode at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch with further details.
We look forward to hearing from you!
DAWNDINOS Zoom Dino Club
Please send details below to Louise Kermode at email@example.com
School Name & address: …………………………….
Teacher’s Contact Name: ……………………………….
Email address: ……………………………
Telephone No: ………………………………………………..