Students will make inferences and interpretations from sets of dinosaur tracks.
Dinosaur tracks are one type of fossil that has recently received attention in Utah. Near St. George on a ten-acre section of the Johnson Farm, over 1,000 dinosaur tracks have been found. According to the Utah Outdoors article by Dave Webb on the Internet, "Most of the tracks are actually 'negative impression' casts which appear as bumps on the stone. The area was the bottom of an ancient freshwater lake in the center of the super-continent Pangea. Footprints left in the mud filled with silt and sand, and more sand was deposited over the top. The mixture eventually solidified into sandstone and mudstone, forming the casts. Now when the slabs are flipped over, the casts appear, much like Jell-O popping out of a mold." Scientists have determined that most of the tracks were made by "dilophosaurus-like' animals and are three toed, 13 -18 inches long. Some smaller tracks have been found along with skin prints and tail drag impressions.
For more information on the Johnson Farm Dinosaur Walkway visit the website. How fossil dinosaur tracks are formed in sedimentary rock is one of the concepts to be taught as part of Standard IV.
With this background information to set the stage, we would propose to do an activity where students interpret what they think happened based on sets of dinosaur tracks.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn
If you remember, a few days back we made trace fossils. Do you remember what trace fossils are? (tracks, trails, skin prints, burrows) Trace fossils are fossils that tell us the most about ancient animal behavior. When we study imprints we can use inference or interpretation skills. With a piece of paper, draw a simple scene of animal footprints with other footprints. Trade papers with a partner. Have your partner tell his/her interpretation of the scene of the animal activities.
Fine Arts/Visual Arts-
Homework & Family Connections