HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveFollowing the Trail of Evidence

BioInteractive

Free Resources for Science Education

 
Classroom Resource
Following the Trail of Evidence

Summary

A worksheet in which students write down the evidence that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth about 66 million years ago, causing a mass extinction. 

Appropriate for: middle school earth and life sciences and high school biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics (all levels)

This worksheet supports the HHMI short film The Day the Mesozoic Died. As students watch the film, they will write down the evidence that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth about 66 million years ago, causing a mass extinction. Through this exercise students gain an appreciation for the scientific process, which consists of asking questions, making observations, formulating hypotheses, and gathering and evaluating evidence.


Curriculum Connections:

NGSS (April 2013)
MS-PS3.C, MS-LS2.C, MS-LS4.A, MS-LS4.C, MS-ESS1.C, MS-ESS2.A, HS-LS2.B, HS-LS2.C, HS-LS4.C, HS-LS4.D, HS-ESS1.C, HS-ESS2.A, HS-ESS2.E, HS-PS1.C

Common Core (2010)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.8, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-12.1,CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-12.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-12.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-12.8

AP Biology (2012-13)
4.B.4, 1.C.1, SP5

IB Biology (2009)
5.1, 5.4.8, D.2.7, D.2.9, D.1.3, G.2.6, G.2.7


Supporting Materials (11)

Classroom Resource
A lesson in which students analyze graphs and data on pollen grains and fern spores to form a picture of the living landscape before and after the K-T mass extinction.
Classroom Resource
This hands-on activity requires students to “visit” different K-T boundary sites.
Short Film
The disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period posed one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries. This three-act film tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that solved it. 
Interactive Video
Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch the short film on the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Classroom Resource
A lesson in which students calculate the mass, size, and kinetic energy of the K-T asteroid based on the total abundance of iridium in the K-T boundary layer.
Classroom Resource
A hands-on activity in which students see first-hand the difference in foraminifera fossils below and above the K-T boundary.
Classroom Resource
A short article by Dr. Sean B. Carroll detailing the discoveries covered in the film The Day The Mesozoic Died.
Classroom Resource
A lesson in which students analyze the chemical data that led researchers to conclude that the K-T boundary layer contained an extraordinary concentration of iridium. 
Classroom Resource
A lesson in which students read a passage and answer questions about the information presented, testing their non-fiction reading comprehension.
Classroom Resource
A worksheet in which students calculate how much iridium was released, and eventually deposited all over the Earth, by the impact of the asteroid that caused the K-T extinction.
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Day the Mesozoic Died, which tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that led to the stunning discovery that an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants and even microorganisms.

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