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A Story of Geology and Toys!

“A story of geology and toys” is a European Researchers’ Night competition organised by Trinity College Dublin. This competition is about you telling the story of Ireland’s past environments by making a diorama (scene) using your toys!

Irish landscapes have not always looked the way they do today. For instance, about 450 thousand years ago, Ireland was covered by a thick ice cap, which was so huge that one could have walked on top of it all the way to Norway in a straight line. Even more surprising, about 330 million years ago, Ireland was near the equator, submerged by shallow tropical waters which were home to corals and sharks - a very different environment from today indeed! Evidence of these past environments and ancient creatures are preserved in the rocks and fossil records of Ireland. Maybe you have found some of these fossils yourself.

“A story of geology and toys” is a European Researchers’ Night competition organised by Trinity College Dublin. This competition is about you telling the story of Ireland’s past environments by making a diorama (scene) using toys.

You can see an example of a diorama here on the left! Carboniferous seas were the realm of corals, annelids (worms), ammonoids (here on the upper left corner of the photo made out of Indiana Jones's whip!) and Stethacanthus a small shark-like animal (check the internet to find out what it looked like!).

What to do?

1. Browse the internet and open books to find the geological period that inspires you to set the décor of your diorama.

2. Use your toys to build your diorama. Toys can be anything from Lego®, Playmobil® to modelling clay. You can also use in-house objects like an aquarium or plants, for instance. You can build your diorama alone or with a friend or your parents.

3. Take a picture of your diorama and upload it onto the webpage to enter the competition. Ask an adult to help you with this task if needed.

4. Describe your scene and tell us which geological period it depicts.

 

What makes a good diorama?

  • A diorama is based on scientific evidence, so although it is tempting to display a humanlike toy riding a T-rex, there is no evidence that humans and T-rex coexisted!
  • A creative diorama. We would love to see a story, so be creative! Set your décor indoor or outdoor, use photo filters or anything that can make your diorama and photo unique.
  • You can see here that a great diorama can have a simple set up!

Who can participate?

This event is for kids between 7 and 14 years old. Both individual and school groups (under teacher supervision) can participate in this event. Parental supervision is welcome for individual participation.

Start, deadline and prizes

The competition starts on the 2nd November and closes on the 26th November 2020. After that, we will review all uploaded photos and pick the best dioramas. Results will be announced on the 27th November on this website. There are two categories, one for individual submissions and one for school groups. In each category there will be three prizes.

  Individuals School groups
1st prize €50 book token €100 book token
2nd prize €30 book token €75 book token
3rd prize €20 book token €50 book token

*Diorama photos courtesy of geologist Stacy Phillips from the Open University, UK.