Dino Club 2021

Dawndinos after school Dino-Club goes Virtual !

Professor Hutchinson and the DAWNDINOS team had a great time exploring the exciting world of early dinosaurs with science students from Years 10-12 at Chancellor’s School in Hertfordshire at our first ever online Dino Club. The team were able to successfully adapt our ‘in-person’ club format which was previously delivered to schools on site to an online format which was presented over five Zoom workshop sessions.

The after school club, held on Monday afternoons during February and March, gave students the opportunity to learn about Dawndinos research at interactive online workshops. During the sessions they explored evolutionary diversification and adaptation, species that are under threat of extinction, climate change as well as the anatomy of dinosaurs and how they moved.

A lot of fun was also had with computer-based activities. The DAWNDINOS team explained how cutting-edge techniques are used in their research and have revolutionised the study of animal biomechanics and locomotion. Students were introduced to 3D digital modelling and the team discussed how the data from the living relatives of Triassic crocodiles and dinosaurs will help estimate muscle function and movement in these extinct animals. They also gained an insight into how we 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!

The club was very well received with excellent feedback from students and we are planning to offer the programme to more schools in September 2021.

Here are some statistics and comments from our post event survey:

  • 17 (average) students attended every session.
  • 14 students attended all of the 5 sessions.
  • 88% said the Dino-Club improved their understanding of early dinosaurs.
  • 75% said the club improved their understanding of biomechanics.
  • 75% felt that 60 minutes was the right length of time for each session.

Students were asked what they had learned, and enjoyed most about the club. Here are some of their comments….

  • “how scientists use complicated software for evaluation and to simulate movement in extinct animals.”
  • “how software is used to make 3D models.”
  • “finding out about the centre of mass in dinosaurs.”
  • “finding out that there are living lineages of archosaurs alive today.”
  • “finding where muscle is attached to bone by looking at scars on the bone.”
  • “ I found this an amazing experience and greatly thank the team who put it together.”

We are planning to offer this programme to more schools in September 2021. If your school is interested and you would like more details please contact Louise Kermode at lkermode@rvc.ac.uk