Herbivore, Carnivore, Omnivore

One of the key topic areas covered in the Year 2 science curriculum (England), is that pupils should be taught to describe how animals obtain their food.  This permits the teaching team to introduce the concept of the development of simple food chains.  The national curriculum for England gives guidance on science programmes of study, but schools have flexibility in how these key concepts are taught in the classroom.  Dinosaurs and life in the past can provide a class with a highly enjoyable term topic that permits the teaching team to build in a wide range of cross-curricular learning activities.

Designing a Herbivorous Dinosaur – Learning About Food Webs

Designing a plant-eating dinosaur.

What adaptations do plant-eating dinosaurs need?

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School

Take for example, the term topic recently delivered by the teaching team at Great Wood Primary School (Lancashire), to their charges in Year 2.  Our dinosaur expert observed some excellent examples of non-fiction and fiction writing, along with evidence of non-chronological reporting during his visit to deliver a dinosaur themed workshop at the school.

A Dinosaur Food Chain

During an hour-long workshop with the Key Stage 1 children, our dinosaur expert introduced a series of extension ideas to help support the scheme of work that had been developed by the teaching team.  One of the topic areas touched upon was establishing the concept that different kinds of animals obtained food in different ways.  In addition, scientists used special terms to describe the diets of animals – herbivores, carnivores and omnivores.

We challenged the children to design their very own prehistoric animal, to label its body parts and to think about what food it might have eaten.  Could they come up with a name to describe their very own dinosaur?  By doing this, we were checking the children’s understanding of the key concepts.

Herbivores, Omnivores and Carnivores in the Dinosauria

Year 2 and the diets of dinosaurs.

Looking at different adaptations for different dinosaur diets.

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School

The children came up with some very creative and imaginative designs.  At the end of the topic, one of the teaching team members sent us examples of the children’s work.  These pictures were posted up onto our warehouse wall and they made a very colourful display.  Having children design their own prehistoric animals is a great way to test understanding and provides an interesting way of demonstrating the key components of food webs, as well as introducing ideas about how animals can adapt to different environments.

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