Rock Cycle - Past Life (1B)
Pre Lab 

  • Analyzing footprints.
  • Comparing four different dinosaur footprints
  • dinosaur
  • fossils
  • footprints
  • tracks
  • Carnegie Dinosaur Models
  • crayons

Students color dinosaur footprints.


Children often see footprint impressions in mud or sand but are rarely asked to think about deriving information from them. This coloring exercise will help students obtain information from dinosaur tracks. Dinosaur footprints are the impressions that dinosaurs made with their feet. The pattern of footprints that may reveal whether the dinosaur ran or walked, or whether it was two legged or four legged.

  1. Tell students that footprints by themselves can provide information on the size of the animal. Ask students how their footprints are different from their mothers' or fathers' footprints. The children should realize that their feet are smaller. Ask them if this pattern would hold true for a dinosaur. Large dinosaurs had large feet and small dinosaurs had small feet. Dinosaur tracks can also tell us if dinosaurs walked, ran, walked in pairs, or if they lived alone or liked the company of other dinosaurs
  2. Ask your students to imagine that they are walking in sand at the beach. Ask them if they would they leave footprints in the sand. They should answer yes, at least until the water washed them away. Ask the students what information they could derive information from their footprints as well as other footprint pattern in the sand. Their answer might include the size of the person, how close together people were walking, and if a person was pigeon-toed or walked like a duck. They could also tell if the person was wearing shoes and perhaps even distinguish the pattern of the sole of their shoes.
  3. On the lab sheet, there are four sets of footprints (please note that these are only sketches). Ask the students the following questions:
    1. Which of these footprints might be from a heavy animal? Why do you think so? Apatosaurus, because the footprint is large and compact, almost resembling an elephant.
    2. Which animal had large claws? Tyrannosaurus, because it has long, slender imprints; almost like a big bird.
    3. Can you tell if the animal was running or walking? No, you must be able to view a pattern of footprints to interpret how the animal was moving.
    4. Which dinosaurs had five toes? Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus.

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