Discovering dinosaurs

In 1842 a new word entered the English language, 'dinosaur' meaning terrible lizard. These were animals unlike any other - monstrous in size and with no apparent living descendants. So how do we know what they looked like, how they lived and what kind of habitat they lived in? This session investigates these mysterious prehistoric creatures. Led by a member of our education team who will be with you for the duration of the session.

Workshop details

In this museum-led session pupils will handle a variety of different animal bones as they explore the process of fossilisation and how it helps us to understand a lost world. 

The class will then be divided into three groups and each group will rotate around three hands on activities using the museum’s handling collections. In these activities pupils will take on the role of junior palaeontologists, investigating skeletal adaptations, learning how to differentiate dinosaur fossils from non-dinosaur fossils, and will have a go at piecing together a dinosaur skeleton from a confusing array of bones.

There will also be the opportunity to handle a life-sized Stegosaurus tail spike, a Protoceratops skull, an Oviraptor claw and even some dinosaur poo! This session offers a playful and unique way for pupils to explore and answer questions about dinosaurs and their habitats which cannot be offered within a classroom.

We need adult help to ensure the pupils have the best possible experience and to ensure the safety of the handling objects. For this reason you must bring at least three adults for this session as the class is split into three groups and teachers are needed to help pupils complete each of the object based activities.

Please arrive on time for your workshop or we may not be able to run it for you. Please share these notes with your adult helpers before your visit. This will help them to support your pupils have a successful and enjoyable day. 

Curriculum links


  • Living things and their habitats
  • Animals including humans
  • Evolution and inheritance

SMSC – Fundamental British Values

Through participating in this session students are encouraged to think about democracy, individual liberty and tolerance.

  • Individual liberty: Through the participative approach in the session individual liberty is promoted by enabling students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. This also promotes mutual respect as children listen to and begin to respect each others contributions.
  • Mutual respect and tolerance: By understanding the Museum’s rules about how to handle ancient artefacts tolerance and respect are encouraged.
  • Social skills: By working in groups to complete a series of investigative activities using our handling collections students develop their social skills. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • identify and name a variety of dinosaurs from the Mesozoic era
  • describe and compare the physical structure of the key dinosaur group types.
  • gain insight into the basic process of fossilisation.
  • identify the key differences between things that are living and dead.


Pupils will:

  • have the opportunity to draw on and share their existing knowledge whilst also being encouraged to absorb and recall new information assimilated throughout the session.
  • use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions including observing, exploring, identifying, classifying and grouping.
  • improve their speaking and listening skills through activities based on team work
  • extend specialist vocabulary.


Pupils will:

  • be introduced to the work of a palaeontologist.
  • appreciate prehistoric animals in their historical context.
  • learn that today’s living species can be traced back through to long extinct ancestors through evolutionary paths.
  • appreciate that objects displayed and worked with in the museum are to be treated with respect.


Pupils will:

  • be confident in interpreting information about dinosaurs.
  • have developed respect and appreciation for the dinosaur fossils on display.
  • see the museum as a resource for scientific research to help understand the prehistoric world.
  • see World Museum as an enjoyable and stimulating place to visit.