UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH DINOSAURS

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH DINOSAURS

Real pieces of Mars and pre-historic fossils were among items available for inspection by Wey Valley students on their recent visit to Dorchester’s Fossil Festival, where they were also able to digitally fly across the Dorset seabed, excavate dinosaur skulls and study creatures found on the shoreline.
 
Science teacher Jenna McNeish organised the trip which gave 43 students from years 7 & 8 the chance to put their classroom knowledge into practice.
 
Jenna said: “The students loved talking to experts in various fields of science, and being able to work on some real projects which are relevant to us in Dorset living on the Jurassic Coast.
 
“There were lots of activities for them to take part in, including analysing fossils and the teeth and skulls of some very old reptiles to try and identify when they dated from.”

 

Experts on hand at the Fossil Festival included leading authorities from London’s Natural History Museum and the universities of Manchester and Bournemouth, as well as local organisations.
 

Jenna McNeish said: “Our students were also given the chance to look at different insects from a forensics perspective and learnt about measuring earthquakes using a

seismometer.

 
“The activities which explained the structure of the earth and related to earthquakes were particularly topical given the recent tragedy in Nepal. It really gave students the chance to see science in the real world, outside the classroom.”
 
The Wey Valley School was one of just six Dorset schools attending the event, which was hosted by Thomas Hardye School.
 
Wey Valley student Ruby Heggie said: "My favourite thing was learning about earthquakes and measuring the vibrations through the ground when we jumped - I was surprised how sensitive the equipment was." 
 
Her classmate Ryan McLaughlin said: "We mixed up some water and custard powder and discovered that some liquids can be solids when pressure is applied to them - so now I understand what magma is like in the earth. It was a really fun day and really interesting."