Could you outrun a dinosaur
William I. Ausich,
Ohio State UniversityAuthor Profile
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
Hands-on measurements of a dinosaur trackway, calculation of dinosaur speeds, etc.
Undergraduate non-major course in History of Life on Earth
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
using a calculator
How the activity is situated in the course
The final laboratory exercise
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Types of information that is preserved in the fossil record
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
analysis of data
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
After looking at vertebrate skeletons and viewing videos dealing with vertebrates, this is a hands-on exercise with data the students can gather from simulated dinosaur trackways. To scale footprints (cut from poster board) are taped to the hallway floor; one of a bipedal theropod and one a quadrapedal sauropod. Students make the appropriate measurements directly from the simulated trackways. These data, plus additional data provided, are the basis for calculations necessary to calculate speed. With this information, various questions are answered.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Whether they answer the questions correctly and thoughtfully.More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Dinosaur Footprints (Acrobat (PDF) 213kB Jun4 09)
- Instructors Notes:Dinosaur Trackway Exercise (Microsoft Word 4.8MB Aug2 09)
- Solution Set:
Alexander, R.M. 1989. Dynamics of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Giants. Columbia University Press, New York, 167 p.