8. Dinosaur Extinction Theories

Summary

Cartoon by Chris Madden

Ark cartoon - Chris MaddenWhat caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Was it a massive meteor? Was it the result of tremendous volcanic activity that covered the globe in volcanic ash? Was it the effects of gradual climate change? Was it the result of plate tectonics? Students are given a set of evidence cards that state scientific discoveries about rocks from 65 million years ago and prediction cards that discuss the predicted effects of different events such as a meteor impact, a rise in carbon dioxide levels, and plate tectonics. Teams of students are charged with assembling this information into an overarching theory that best explains the evidence at hand. At the end of the period or the following period, teams present their theories to the whole group and enter into a debate about the cause or causes of the great dinosaur extinction.
 

Objectives
Can sort through evidence and come up with a scientific theory that best fits the data.
Can recognize whether evidence is consistent with a scientific theory.
Can use geologic evidence to propose theories about past life on earth.

 

Vocabulary
Theory
Extinction
Mass extinction
K-T boundary
Iridium

AttachmentSize
8extinction_theories.doc63 KB
extinction_handout.doc33.5 KB
evidence_cards_v2.doc47.5 KB