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Animals Through Time Unit
Can you outrun a dinosaur?
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DISCUSS: What can you figure out about these two animals, just by looking at their footprints? (For hint, see next slide.)

footprints

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Hint: Can you notice how many legs the animal walks on: two or four? How many toes it has? What shape feet it has?

Here's what we noticed

footprints

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DISCUSS (1 of 3): Which ostrich do you think was moving faster? How do you know?

OstrichFootprints

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DISCUSS (2 of 3): Look at this image and decide: Where was Pat walking? Where was Pat running? Why do you think that? (Answer on next slide.)

MapWalkingQuestion

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Answer:

Map-AnswersToDiscussionQuestions

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DISCUSS (3 of 3):

Dinosaurs died out a long time ago. You can’t race a living one. How could you figure out if you could run faster than a dinosaur?

Dinosaur-Skeleton-and-Fossil-Footprints

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You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading, and extension activity in the extensions.

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
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Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Animal Survival & Heredity
Focus Fossil Evidence, Trace Fossils, & Animal Behavior
Print Prep
Activity Prep

THIS LESSON WAS REVISED ON AUGUST 21, 2019. Here is a link to the previous version.
In this Mystery, students will learn about how fossil dinosaur tracks reveal how quickly a dinosaur was running. In the activity, Outrunning CeeLo, students figure out if they could have won a race with a dinosaur that was just their size. To determine the winner, students will compare the length of their running steps with the dinosaur’s steps.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Dinosaur Footprints (inches) worksheet
Here is the printout in centimeters.
Print 1 copy
Run for your life! worksheet
Here is the printout in centimeters.
Print 30 copies
Pen or Sharpie
1 pen
Rulers
15 rulers
Yardstick or Meterstick
1 stick
Masking Tape
Chalk may work better for asphalt or similar surfaces that tape doesn't adhere as well to.
Details
30 feet
Post-Its (3")
Each student needs their own Post-It.
Details
30 Post-Its
Post-Its (3")
You need 1 Post-It for each dinosaur, but we suggest having a few more in case the Post-It gets blown away.
Details
4 Post-Its
String
This is enough to make 1 measuring string for each of the four dinosaurs. Yarn or ribbon will also work.
Details
26 feet
Prep Instructions

Find and Prepare Your Racetrack

You will need an area where your students can run for eight steps. Ideally the area will be at least 55 feet (about 17 meters) long. That’s about ⅔ the length of a high school basketball court.

Mark the starting line for the race with masking tape. Establish a line to follow or a destination point to keep everyone running in the same direction.

Check Your Materials

If you’re doing the activity on a gymnasium floor, we suggest students use Post-Its for marking their steps. Test to make sure Post-Its will stick to the surface where you are racing. If your students will be running in the playground, chalk might be a better choice for marking their steps.

Plan For the Race

Each student will run eight steps as fast as they can. Their partner will mark where their eighth step lands.

We recommend that no more than four students run at the same time. If too many students run at the same time, it can be confusing for the markers. Students who are not running or marking can cheer on the runners!

Make the Dinosaur Step Measuring Strings

After the students run, they will measure how far their dinosaur would have run in eight steps using a Dinosaur Step measuring string. There are four dinosaurs, each with a different leg length.

Find the black circle on the side of each Dinosaur Footprint printout. Fold two layers of clear tape over the spot to reinforce it. Then use your hole punch to punch a hole where marked. This is where you will tie the string.

Hole-Punch-Prep

Use your yardstick to measure string and cut the following lengths:

  • 68 inches (173 cm) for VeeLo (Velociraptor)
  • 68 inches (173 cm) for SanJuan (Sanjuansaurus)
  • 78 inches (198 cm) for DeeNo (Deinonychus)
  • 88 inches (224 cm) for CeeLo (Coelophysis)

Now you’ll connect the footprints with the strings: thread the correct string length through each hole on the matching dinosaur footprints and tie it on with a knot. Make sure that when the string is pulled straight, the footprints are the correct distance apart. (Distance is shown on the footprint.)

Dino-Footprint-Measuring

Write each dinosaur’s nickname on a Post-It and stick it to the page where marked (the nicknames are VeeLo, SanJuan, DeeNo, and CeeLo).

Dino-Nickname

Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Animal Survival & Heredity
Focus Fossil Evidence, Trace Fossils, & Animal Behavior
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