A Laboratory Exercise on Determining Dinosaur Speeds Using Dimensional Analysis
Carl Edward Renshaw, Gary Dean Johnson, Karin Facet Kvale 2000 Journal of Geoscience Education v48 n3 p342-346
This Journal of Geoscience Education article describes a laboratory exercise in which measurements from a dinosaur trackway are used to estimate how fast the dinosaur track makers were moving. The exercise, which is appropriate for any introductory earth-science course at the secondary-school or college level, introduces students to dimensional analysis by having them construct an empirical graph of dimensionless stride length versus dimensionless velocity. The students then estimate the dimensionless stride length from the trackway data and use the dimensionless graph to determine the speeds of the dinosaurs.