Author: Guy Kerr

Jurassic Coast Ambassadors Chris Woodward and Vincent Sheppard have recently delivered engaging, thought-provoking educational sessions in Exeter and Weymouth respectively.

Chris was invited by St Michael’s Academy in Exeter to speak to their Key Stage 2 pupils, and delivered a pair of one-hour sessions, with 30 pupils attending each session. Chris brought his own collection of rock samples, representing different rock types and helping to shed light on the millions of years of Earth history that has brought them into being.

As well as sedimentary rocks and a selection of fossils from the Jurassic Coast, Chris’ presentation included igneous rocks originating from volcanic activity, with children being encouraged to handle each rock type and to record their observations of the colour, texture and other features. Probably the most difficult to answer question set by a pupil for Chris was: “What is the biggest rock in the world?” Hmmm…

Feedback from the school was overwhelmingly positive, with Year 3 teacher Rachel Hamer commenting:

“Our visit from Mr Woodward was a great ‘hook’ for the start of our Year 3 science topic on rocks. The presentation was well-prepared and met our expectations. The session was interactive and engaging and allowed children the opportunity to handle a wide variety of rocks. Our follow-up work demonstrates that the children learnt an enormous amount and can talk confidently about what they learnt.”

chriws woodward exeter school

Chris Woodward (pictured in wizard hat) talks rocks with pupils at St Michael’s Academy, Exeter.


60 miles east in Weymouth, newly recruited Ambassador Vincent Sheppard ran a similar session for the Year 3 class at St John’s School. Vincent is a retired Geoscientist who has recently moved to the Bridport area, and has taken to his Ambassadorial role with great aplomb, delivering talks and training sessions for children and adults, as well as establishing a Geology group for the Bridport U3A.

Top questions from pupils at Vincent’s talk included “When were fossils invented?” and ” Is it true there are 11 volcanoes in the world?” (we suspect there are slightly more than that!).

Teacher Kendall Stuart Smith said of the session, “I felt the morning was really successful, and children were able to ask questions which Vincent answered at the age appropriate level for them to understand and lead their own lines of enquiry. The activities planned allowed children to explore and build on previous learning but also make new links. The resources provided made the children excited about their learning and supported them to develop their scientific vocabulary.”

vincent at st johns school, weymouth

Ambassador Vincent Sheppard in action at St John’s Primary School, Weymouth.


The Trust’s Ambassadors are our true “rock stars”, delivering engaging, hands-on science to pupils in the local community, fulfilling requests from local schools whenever we can. If you’re a teacher or other staff member at a local school and would like to enquire about a Jurassic Coast session, please get in touch via email.

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