New Explore-a-saurus Dinosaur Exhibition is Now Open

Dinosaurs take over the earth in the Explore-a-saurus Exhibition

A new dinosaur exhibition is open to the public at Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. Explore-a-saurus has taken the place of the successful Mummy exhibition on level 2 at Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. The Learning Services team thought that teachers who read this blog might be interested in reading our perspective on the educational and learning potential of the new exhibition for school groups or perhaps a family visit.

Things I Liked Best about the Exhibition

As a teacher and parent I was impressed with the life-like moving dinosaurs, the subdued moody lighting of the exhibition and the prehistoric soundscape.  The exhibition content is suitable for younger primary aged children upwards. I think that children will particularly enjoy searching for bones in the Dino Dig pit, as well as seeing the fossilised dinosaur poo, claws and teeth.

Children will love searching for bones in the Dino dig pit.

Five Things for Teachers to Do Before and After Visiting Explore-a-saurus

1. Free teacher preview of Explore-a-saurus. 

A two-week period has been designated for teachers to visit and evaluate the exhibition from Tuesday 29 January until Sunday 10 February. Present your name, contact details and proof of current teacher registration at the entry to Explore-a-saurus for a complimentary adult admission. Come with a teacher colleague by all means.

2. Download the free Explore-a-saurus Education Booklet

This booklet can be downloaded from this link. It was developed by Museum Victoria’s Scienceworks and has been modified for Queensland Museum school audiences.  The resource includes Australian Curriculum links, dinosaur learning activities and much more.

3. Book a Dinosaur school program.

The  entire suite of 10 school programs is being reviewed and refined ready for 2013 by QM’s teachers and learning officers. Two interactive dinosaur-themed programs are available: Dinosaurs and Fossils (Y 4-7) and Dinosaur World (P-3) You’ll need to book these programs on-line before planning your visit.

4. Access Queensland Museum online dinosaur learning resources

On-line exploration can be done before or after your visit to the museum. This premium learning resource was developed by one of our science teachers-in-residence in liaison with museum paleontologists  As such we are sure that students will find the information stimulating and engaging. Explore Dinosaurs Climate Change and Biodiversity  to find information on Queensland dinosaur discoveries, extinction theories, student games and downloadable fact sheets.

5. Borrow a Dinosaur Specimen

QM Loans has museum specimens and discovery kits  for your school to borrow. Collections range from casts of dinosaur ribs and footprints to models and molds

Motherly instincts shown as a dinosaur guards her clutch of eggs

Australian Curriculum Links

From an education and learning perspective, several explicit links can be made with the dinosaur exhibition and the Australian Curriculum for school teachers and their students.  There are some oblique references to the ancient past in the science curriculum, but we are in warmer territory with history, geography and English. History will be taught as a mandated subject for the first time in many years in Queensland from the beginning of 2013.  We know of several schools that have visited the museum this year that have been trialling the history curriculum this year. In Year 7 students will be expected to undertake an investigating of the ancient past, specifically, “How historians and archaeologists investigate history, including excavation and archival research.  Further relevance to the Explore-a-saurus exhibition can be found in the requirement for Year 7 students to, “Understand the nature of the sources for ancient Australia and what they reveal about Australia’s past in the ancient period, such as the use of resources.”  Additional details can be gleaned by interrogating ACARA curricular information on history from this link

Experiential and immersive experiences are great for stimulating kids and generating their creative thinking skills. Teachers often face the challenge of encouraging students to write imaginatively without recourse to a regurgitation of what they have seen on TV or the latest DVD. I would argue that seeing and hearing a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex (the undisputed King of the Cretaceous Period) in a recreated prehistoric environment at the museum would be a good springboard for some imaginative English writing back in class.

The new Geography Curriculum will be launched in digital form in December 2012 after an extensive consultation, which has been flagged by the Geography Association of Queensland. We look forward to scouring the detail of the new geography document to establish what learning potential there may be with the museum’s extensive geological collection and palaeontology specimens which are mostly held at our Hendra site. The QM Learning Services team will continue to liaise with local teacher reference groups to monitor and share ideas about the phasing out of SOSE as well as the staggered introduction of AC: history and geography over the next couple of years.

Test your knowledge about the Triceratops

We hope to see you at the Explore-a-saurus exhibition next term.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below after previewing the exhibition.

About David Milne

David is an international educator with thirty-five years experience of professional and strategic development, managing change and evaluating effective practice in different education and cultural sectors. David worked at the Queensland Museum (QM) for 7 years. He led the Strategic Learning team who developed many award-winning web-based learning resources and education kits. David was formerly a member of the academic staff at the University of Queensland, an international school principal and an education consultant. He is currently a freelance writer and researcher.
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