Dinosaur Isle - Discover Experience Encounter
Upper Greensand at Gore Cliff

Educational Services

Family visitors at Dinosaur IsleThe Isle of Wight is the most important site in Europe for dinosaur fossils; and of major importance for fossils from the Caenozoic.

At Dinosaur Isle we are able to present and interpret our world-famous fossils within our new building, and out on the beach through a series of educational and inspirational field trips.

The museum provides an educational service for local, UK mainland and international schools, as well as other formal and informal educational groups. It is the largest provider of geological and palaeontological learning on the Isle of Wight, supporting several thousand formal and informal educational visitors each year.

Dinosaur Isle is home to one of Europe’s finest collections of dinosaur remains.

IntroductionSchoolsEarly Years
Family LearningAdult LearningUniversities
Lifelong LearningCLILOutreach
Community projectsFacilities and resourcesContact
LOtCMembershipsAssociated IW Council providers

Community Learning - an introduction

Dinosaur Isle is the showcase for Isle of Wight fossils, from the tiniest insects and shells right up to the largest dinosaur. Its education service has been running for many years, having previously resided at our old museum in Sandown. Moving to a new building a short distance away at Yaverland has meant we have been able to expand on the range of activities we offer, and to support a greater diversity audience. 

Our mission is “To be a national centre of excellence in the conservation, interpretation and acquisition of the Island’s dinosaurs and diverse geological heritage.” .

In addition to formal education we encourage community learning through the provision of lectures, field trips and other activities for adults and families, youth and special interest groups.

We can often work with partners to provide education projects related to the Island's geological and palaeontological heritage. If you wish to discuss a joint project please contact us.

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Click here to download a free Teachers' Guide

We provide a range of activities all year including talks and fossil handling sessions, unguided (and guided) visits and field trips; including visits to local coastal sites containing visible geology and fossils.

Within the building we can often provide tailored activities, for example introductions to evolution (GCSE Biology), extinction, rocks and soils.

A large Education Room is available for talks and learning activities. We cater for students from reception class (and pre-school) through to A-level. We can often support GCSE projects and A-level fieldwork.

Suitability for the National Curriculum.

Key Stages 1 and 2Key Stage 3
Unit 1C. Sorting and using materials.Unit 7D. Variation and classification.
Unit 3D. Rocks and SoilsUnit 8D. Rocks and weathering.
Unit 4A. Moving and growing.Unit 8H. The rock cycle.

Key Stages 1 and 2Key Stage 3
Unit 4. Going to the seaside.Unit 5. Exploring England.
Unit 6. Investigating the local area.Unit 8. Coastal environments.
Unit 23. Investigating coasts.

There are potential additional links to other subject areas, including ICT, numeracy and art.

Should you wish to discuss a custom activity for your group please contact us. We can for example support tourism, heritage and business study students.

Field trip at St. CatherinesSchool children on the rocky beach at St. Catherines Point, collecting small fossils from within the debris of a former substantial avalanche that occured above this site over 80 years ago. The stunning scenery here, the wildlife and the comparitive silence provide an extra attraction for those schools who choose to go here for their field trip.

Schools travelling to the Island, or staying in accomodation here during a residential visit may find the following webpage links useful. Click on the images to call up the appropriate page.

Click here for travel to, and on the Isle of Wight.
 Travel routes to the Island, and a list of Island coach operators.

Click here for help with accommodation.
A list of websites detailing potential schools accommodation providers.

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Early Years

Dinosaurs are an inspirational subject area for the very young. Fossils and rocks can be sources of new textures, weights and shapes.

Learning through play can be supported by using our dinosaur costumes and large dinosaur heads. Mirrors in our main museum and education room are provided for those brave enough to become a mini Stegosaurus. Smells and sounds in our museum space add to the experience.

Young children often find it difficult to tell the difference between 'real' and 'replica' objects, between toys and real animals, and to accept that the fossil bones of dinosaurs are no longer the actual dinosaur bones - that things change over time; handling real objects in one of our planned sessions can help them identify which is which.

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Family Learning

Dinosaur Isle supports Family Learning on the Isle of Wight, through a range of activities, intended to support the Family Literacy and Numeracy Programme in a fun way.

For further information please contact:

Family Learning
Community and Family Learning Service
Carnival Learning Centre
Brading Road
Isle of Wight
PO33 1QS

Useful Websites:



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Adult Learning

Adult learning is provided -

  • through the practical experience of hands-on fossil collecting,
  • by viewing the stunning geology of the Island on field-trips to a number of coastal sites,
  • during lectures provided by staff (within the museum and off-site).
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Dinosaur Isle is an ideal base for students of geology and palaeontology to obtain an introduction to the Island prior to field work.

The collection is heavilly researched and papers on its more important objects are listed in the online Type and Figured Catalogue.

Inquiries for access to the collection for research should be directed to:-

Dinosaur Isle
Culver Parade
Isle of Wight
PO36 8QA

Telephone: (01983) 404344
email: trevor.price@iow.gov.uk

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Lifelong Learning

GSIW members on a joint Field Trip at Bembridge. Picture courtesy of Val Munt.Just because you have left school or University doesn't mean that you should stop learning. The search for further knowledge about our country's rich geological and palaeontological heritage can be both inspirational and rewarding. The physical effort required to get out to geological sites is both healthy for the body and good for the mind.
We see so much more when we are in the great outdoors that there is no reason why the study of fossils and rocks should ever stop.

Dinosaur Isle leads trips for the more mature student and we look forward to receiving enquiries from societies for field trips (and for talks when we can fit them into our schools schedule).  The Isle of Wight coastline can be a rewarding place to go to look for fossils in the winter months so why not give us a call.

There are a number of geological societies you can join which also run organized trips and go to fossil shows. The Geological Society of the Isle of Wight was established in the 1990's to do just that, but has recently closed. (The picture is of a joint trip with GSIW to a local Palaeogene site).  Other groups include the national Rockwatch which is suitable for children.

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Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

A worksheet is now available for CLIL students in their second year (lower secondary / 8th grade).

Details provided by Yvette Minassian, CLIL teacher at Institut Sainte-Julie in Belgium.

Contact: yvette12345@yahoo.de

Students can find answers in display cases and on panels.  They should be encouraged to ask museum staff for guidance when appropriate.

A CLIL worksheet (April 2010) is now available for download by clicking on the pdf symbol. (File size 590 Kb).Click here for a CLIL worksheet.

An answer sheet for the CLIL worksheet is available for download by clicking on the pdf symbol. (File size 288 Kb).Click here for the answer sheet.

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We can take our educational service to local schools, and other educational establishments for talks and classroom-based activities where possible. We also visit shows, school careers days, disabled access shows and other events to promote the museum, its collections, and learning opportunities.

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Community projects

We work closely with local groups (for example the Young Archaeologists' Club) and other museums on joint projects. These activities are sometimes jointly advertized so keep an eye on our Events page.

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Facilities and resources

Dinosaur Isle is an all-year-round indoor museum designed to be explored within an hour to an hour-and-a-half.  Displays, panels and interactives support the fossils and models, some of which are based on a reconstructed Wealden (early Cretaceous)  landscape.

The museum displays flow from youngest to oldest in two main exhibition areas.  The first holds objects from the Quaternary (just a few hundred thousand years old, for example bison and elephant) through the Palaeogene (32 million years back to 56 million years) then into the Upper (Late) Cretaceous Chalk sea, Upper Greensand sea and the time of the Lower (Early) Cretaceous Vectis (a time when the southern half of the Island was flooded by rivers and lakes). The displays then move on into a large hall containing fossils and full scale reconstructions from the Lower (Early) Cretaceous about 126 to 122 million years ago. The museum exit corridor contains objects found and loaned by local people, schools and visitors.

A video microscope is available in the first exhibition to examine some of the smaller fossils in the collection.

A large Education Room (10 metres by 7.5 metres) is available for talks and fossil-handling sessions. A smartboard is available for projection if the talks require it. The room can sometimes be used during the autumn and winter for school lunches if the room is not otherwise booked. There are 10 folding tables (1.5 metres by 0.7 metres) and about 40 chairs available.  The floor is carpeted.

A fossil-handling collection containing a variety of rocks and fossils found on the Island (and elsewhere) is available for talks. Standard rocks to represent the three main types - Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary - are also available.

Clipboards and pencils are available on-loan free of charge, with an activity sheet geared for the 9 to 11 years range.

The activity sheet is available at the museum but can be downloaded from the webpage www.dinosaurisle.com/info.html

Outside of the museum we have access to a variety of beaches at which the geology and fossils of the Island can be seen and explored. The local beach is only a few minutes walk away, but other beaches will need school transport.

Information on the Earth's timeline, key events in the evolution of the life on it and the position of the Island in that record are available from the webpage www.dinosaurisle.com/timeline.html

A set of common questions and answers is available on the webpage www.dinosaurisle.com/FAQS.html

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Trevor Price      
Community Learning Officer

Dinosaur Isle
Culver Parade
Isle of Wight
PO36 8QA

Telephone: (01983) 404344
email: trevor.price@iow.gov.uk

Trevor out digging for fossils.
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Learning Outside the Classroom

Dinosaur Isle is part of a group of local Education providers who are working together to promote educational visits to museums and other non-school educational establishments on the Island.  Formerly called the IW Environmental Education Forum, the group evolved a few years ago to take on a wider membership who were aiming to achieve the LOtC Quality Award. The group changed its name again to place a greater emphasis on learning outside of the traditional school environment. Today we are part of an evolved group called Hampshire-Solent Learning, Access and Interpretation Network (LAINet).

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Dinosaur Isle has been a member of the following groups, its membership evolves to suit current conditions -

GEM - Group for Education in Museums (former member).

ESTA - Earth Science Teachers' Association (former member). 

IDEAL - a group of Island educators with an interest in Learning Outside the Classroom (formerly the IW Environmental Education Forum).

LAINet - Learning, Access and Interpretation Network for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. A new group starting March 2010.

SLIME - Science Links in Museum Education.

A booklet (2009) describing the opportunities provided by members of the SLIME group is now available for download by clicking on the pdf symbol. (File size 2.24 Mb).Click here for a SLIME booklet.

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Associated IW Council providers

Isle of Wight Heritage Service - Education.

The Heritage Education Service (HES) is part of the Isle of Wight Heritage Service and is based at Carisbrooke Castle Museum.

HES offers hands-on activities at Carisbrooke Castle and Museum, Newport Roman Villa, The Museum of Island History at the Guildhall and Cowes Maritime Museum.

HES also offers free outreach activities and loan objects for Island LEA schools.

For further information visit the HES Schools Service website or contact -

Estelle Baker, Heritage Education Officer
Isle of Wight Heritage Service
c/o Carisbrooke Castle Museum
Isle of Wight
PO30 1XY

Tel: (01983) 523112
email: estelle.baker@iow.gov.uk

Family Information ZoneThe Island's Children's Information Service

produces FREE Activities Booklets for the school holidays.

These contain information on a wide range of activities and events happening throughout the island for families, children and young people.

To obtain a FREE copy call FIZ on (01983) 821999. Alternatively you can request a copy by email on familyinfozone@iow.gov.uk 

Or search the Isle of Wight Children's Services website for further details of services for children and young people on the Isle of Wight.


Dinosaur Isle blinking eye Educational Services Activities Fossil Guide - what are fossils? Field trip localities Activity Worksheets Health and Safety Useful information
and Downloads
Earth's Timeline FAQ's (on the Dinosaurs page)TestimonialsNewsletters Dinosaur Isle Shop

Millenium Commission

Accredited Museum

Quality Assured Visitor Attraction

Chamber of Commerce

Isle of Wight Council


Dinosaur Isle,
Culver Parade,
Isle of Wight
PO36 8QA

Tel: +44 (0)1983 404344
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