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Year 6 Evolution and Inheritance workshop

(can be taught to other year groups)

Fantastic fossils and a PE task with a difference takes pupils through the whole Theory of Evolution, from Charles Darwin to Mary Anning and much more!



National Curriculum suggested year group:


Duration (for single class, multiple classes normally are a presentation followed by a fossils session each):



half day

NC objectives covered:

All of the objectives from the Evolution and inheritance topic, but with more emphasis on Evolution rather than inheritance.

The way that the human body and the bodies of other animals have evolved over the long history of life on Earth is a fascinating topic, and in this workshop we combine the best elements of our Human Body and Fossils workshops for a new experience tailored just for this new Y6 topic of Evolution and Inheritance.


This is taught with many wow moments (as per all our workshops) such as rare fossil handling, looking at fossils close up on the big screen microscope, and a fossil sorting task, where pupils get to practice the skills used by fossil hunters such as Mary Anning.


In addition, and quite unlike any other science workshop you may have had, we enable pupils to make a real connection between the evolution of the human skeleton by not only meeting and learning about our friendly skeleton, 'Stanley', but also taking several detailed joint models in to a PE 'stations' session to study how different bones have developed to suit different purposes.  

Activities in this workshop

(This can be for one class, several classes in turn, or choose one activity as part of a multi science day with other classes)

1) Evolution presentation

The first part of the workshop is a fully detailed interactive presentation that covers ALL of the curriculum content.

Starting with a pupil-friendly explanation of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution and moving on to the impact of Mary Anning's key fossil discoveries and finally on to human evolution the presentation is a fun experience that is very memorable.

Curiously several teachers have told us that it is also the activity that is the most quoted as many pupils' 'best experience' of learning in year six when they compile their assemblies at the end of the year!

2) Viewing rare 'Wow' fossils on a giant microscope!

One of the best parts of this workshop is when the pupils get to see our rare fossils on our large screen microscope and handle them as they are passed around the room as their excitement and interest grows.

While we are always adding to our collection, current rare fossils include the following:

  • Megalodon giant shark tooth (50 million years old)

  • Woolly Mammoth tooth

  • Insect in Copal (a different, yet very similar, form of amber)

  • Fish fossils

  • Tree bark imprints

  • Trilobites

  • Polished dinosaur bones

  • Dinosaur teeth

  • Giant Elk bone

+ many, many more!!!


3) Hunting real fossils and sorting them

It is now the pupils turn to work in small groups to follow in the footsteps of Darwin, Mary Anning and other great fossil hunters by classifying real fossils using the same skills used by professional paleontologists.


This is in the form of four different sand boxes which mimic the following key research skills:

1) Counting mass samples (to assess species numbers in a given location)

2) Weighing samples (to assess average weight of a species)

3) Measuring length (to assess physical aspects such as gender and maturity)

4) Species classification (to recognise different species and sub-species)

It is worth noting for schools on a tight budget that this is a Y6 adapted version of the sorting task from the Y3 fossils workshop if you wanted to combine the two year groups for a half day each.

4) The magnificent human body Evolution PE session

Shared from our Human Body workshop and tailored more towards evolution for this workshop, this unique activity combines both classroom science and PE to draw pupils' attention to the way their skeleton has evolved to cope with the demands placed up on it by the forces of nature.


Starting with a detailed look at Stanley, our skeleton, we identify individual bones and look at how they have been adapted for specific purposes, such as the phalanges in the hand which allow fine motor skills, and the femur in the thigh, which provides support and strength.


We then take five joint models outside for a PE session where each joint matches a particular station, during which the pupils are encouraged to use the models to try to identify what is happening to their skeleton as they complete the activities.


We then take five joint models outside for a PE session where each joint matches a particular station, during which the pupils are encouraged to use the models to try to identify what is happening to their skeleton as they complete the activities.


"A perfect alternative to a school trip with more learning and less hassle to organise!" year 5 teacher, Salford

Primary school science workshops for key stage one and key stage two in the North West including Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Bury, Tameside, Trafford, Oldham, Liverpool, Lancashire, Stockport and Cheadle

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