Have you heard of the Thecodontosaurus? It is the 4th species of dinosaur discovered in the world. It is Bristol’s dinosaur. Its remains got found in 1834 from a quarry. This dinosaur’s common name is Theco.
This discovery is what gave birth to the Bristol Dinosaur Project. It is an educational initiative and public engagement. It got started in 2000, and the University of Bristol runs it and has seen hundreds of schools come to visit since it opened its doors. The project team has spoken to thousands and thousands of children and has gone to school fairs within Bristol and other places.
Ed Drewitt, a learning officer, says that through Theco, we can know more about the evolution of early dinosaurs into giant plant-consuming dinosaurs that were all over Europe. Theco is now a local celebrity figure, and its bone tissue is used to learn more about what life was 210 or more million years back.
This project works with the young people and the community to help them understand their local inheritance and nature around them. The Bristol project has supported the community in various ways such as supporting a dinosaur themed production, visiting libraries, working with Bristol Zoo during a dinosaur exhibition. Volunteers working on this project have visited several schools, steered many children towards interactive workshops and dinosaur bone hunting expeditions.
The Bristol Dinosaur Project team also went ahead to engage young people that were not in any form of education or employment. Their mission was to formulate a storybook about Theco. The project was successful, and the participants were amazed at the interest that the people had in their work. It also boosted their confidence in transforming their lives. For example, some members to go back to university while others got job interviews with prominent organizations.
In the beginning, Bristol Dinosaur Project got its funding from the University of Bristol through widening participation funds. These collections were used to reach local schools that did not feature among schools that sent a huge number of children to university. By sending students to such schools, the project team hoped that the students there would get inspiration to work harder and apply for university admission.
After that, the project got substantial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. With this donation, it was able to sail through 2010 to 2013 smoothly. After that funding, the University of Bristol has continued to fund the project with an aim of widening participation purposes.
The project has sought to indulge children between 7 and nine years and children between 14 and 15 years. With the younger bracket, it is easy to engage their enthusiastic minds. Because of that, passing around a tooth or bone of a dinosaur is enough for they thrilled to touch the real thing.
When dealing with the older bracket, it is crucial that you tell them the fun that one experiences when their career is in science or any related field. At this age, critical decisions that shall affect their life many years to come get made.
The essential component of work Bristol project is laboratory work.