This Mystery is out of date! Please proceed to Animals Through Time to see the updated version.
Can you outrun a dinosaur?
Scroll for prep
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Discuss: What can you figure out about these two animals, just by looking at their footprints? (For hint, see next slide.)

footprints

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Hint: You can tell a few different things. For example, you can tell whether the animal walks on two legs or four legs. You can also tell how many toes and what shaped feet the animal had.

Reveal answer

footprints

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Discuss: Which ostrich do you think was moving faster? How do you know?

OstrichFootprints

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Quick Practice before the next video: Look at this image and decide: Where was Pat walking? Where was Pat running? Why do you think that? (Answer on next slide.)

MapWalkingQuestion

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Answer:

Map-AnswersToDiscussionQuestions

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Discuss: Here are CeeLo’s footprints when he was running his fastest. How could you figure out if you could run faster than CeeLo?

CeeLoFootprints

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
Full Screen
Exit Full Screen

Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
running near water by MATHIAS, M H , used under CC BY
posing by footprint by RRNeal
size comparison by Zachi Evenor , used under CC BY
T-Rex drawing by Nobu Tamura , used under CC BY-SA
long neck skeleton by Everything is Fiction
size chart by Conty , used under CC BY
footprint fossils by James St. John , used under CC BY
Coelophysis by Matt Celeskey , used under CC BY-SA
footprint fossil up close by Tui Snider
footprints in mud by R.T. Bird
Coelophysis size chart by Petrified Forest , used under CC BY
fossil foot drawing by Taylor Made Fossils
fossil footprints by The Natural American
lion by SA Star Tours
cat in snow by Rosana Prada , used under CC BY
ostrich by 7naturalwonders
Print Prep
Activity Prep

To view a revised version of this lesson, please click here.
In this Mystery, students will learn how a dinosaur’s footprints reveal how quickly a dinosaur was running.

Preview activity

Before class, you need to photocopy worksheets for students and tape printouts of dinosaur footprints to the floor in the right spacing. (We're calling this the dinosaur racetrack.)

For the racetrack, you will need:

For the activity, each student will need:

Activity Summary

Students will try to “outrun” a dinosaur by taking larger steps than the dinosaur took. Using a number line, students will calculate the “stride length” of their classmates. Using a graph, students will also figure out whether their classmates could outrun a stegosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus rex, or a triceratops.

Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: