I developed the idea for this lesson based on the extinction event that occurred about 65 million years ago, which wiped out the dinosaurs along with most other life on Earth.
The pupils had to learn about the various theories, so I thought that the best way to do this was through a PowerPoint presentation. In previous lessons they loved using the interactive whiteboard, and when I added sound files to images or slides they were thrilled as they didn't quite know what noise would come next.
The slides introduced the five main theories for the extinction event, illustrated with cartoons of a dinosaur suffering under each one: a giant asteroid colliding with Earth, a volcano erupting, a supernova exploding, disease and climate change. For disease, we had a picture of a dinosaur sneezing; for climate change, he had a scarf around his long neck. The last slide brought all five together with the heading "What do you think?"
In pairs, the pupils discussed each of these ideas in turn; at the end of the slide show we cast votes to see which was the most popular theory and why.
Then we began to create a concept map of their ideas, which linked together the theories and possibilities we had discussed. After this, the children worked in pairs to create an information poster about the extinction of the dinosaurs. I encouraged them to use some of the topic-related vocabulary we had learnt and to illustrate their work.
The PowerPoint was an excellent starting point for the children's "extinction posters" as it encouraged a great deal of discussion and prompted them to think and consider different points of view.
Tracey McCann is completing her teacher training at Christ the King Catholic Primary in Wirral and from September will be teaching at West Kirby Primary School in Wirral.