Students got the bug for fossil-hunting after studying insects that were trapped in amber a million years ago. The Masterclass session was led by fossil enthusiast, Jules Howard, aka the Wildlife Man.
Teacher Miss Lincoln said: ‘He brought in a whole array of dinosaur bones and the students were so excited. They talked about how fossils were made. Then they examined and identified some using a fact sheet. They studied some fossils from Northamptonshire and built up a picture of what was going on in the county back when they were formed. The students thought it was amazing that the fossils were so old, but also from around the local area.
'Jules had some million-year-old amber from Madagascar that they examined through hand lenses, trying to identify insects like spiders, ants and mosquitos. As mosquitos eat flowers then we could deduce that there must have been flowers around at that time as well. As Jules really knew his stuff the students really got into the topic.’
Masterclasses are fun study sessions aimed at local primary-aged children, with around 25 attending each of two sessions that take place on Saturday mornings.
Miss Lincoln said: ‘This session really got the children thinking that our knowledge as scientists is always changing. We don’t know everything about the dinosaurs; we don’t what colours they were or whether they had feathers or not. There are big holes in our knowledge and little discoveries can make significant differences. Science isn’t a static subject, but is fluid, always changing and growing.
‘Jules could just pick up a shard of fossil and immediately identify it. He said gravel is one of the best places to find lots of fossils particularly the type used for drainage around plants or on driveways. All you have to do is find that little shimmer and then go through the process of identifying what you have discovered.’