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  • The Field MuseuM educaTion deparTMenT develops on-line educaTor guides To provide deTailed inForMaTion on Field Trip planning, alignMenT wiTh illinois sTaTe learning sTandards (ils), as well as hands-on

    classrooM acTiviTies To do beFore and aFTer your visiT To The MuseuM.

    Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries is organized by American Museum of Natural History, New York in collaboration with The Field Museum, Chicago; Houston Museum of Natural Science;

    the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; and the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh

    Education Program Sponsor:

    The F i e ld MuseuM educ aT i on d eparTMenT presenTs


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  • The Field Museum • DINOS • Educator Guide Page �

    Teacher’s note

    Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries consists of five sections. Before you visit the exhibition, spend some time viewing the information on the Web site to begin planning your visit. We also recommend our quick fun facts and pre-activities to introduce your students to the complexities of the exhibition and focusing on one or two sections within the exhibition to study in depth. Each section has an introduction, guiding questions, answers to guiding questions, suggested pre-activities, field trip activities, and post-activities to help guide your students’ experience.

    Visit us on-line at

    So you think you know dinosaurs? Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries brings new life to old bones. It’s an eye-opening look at dinosaurs as living creatures who breathed, battled, and bred in complex environments they shared with countless other species. If you’re ready to catch up with the latest, ground-breaking dinosaur discoveries and evolutionary theories—where did birds come from, anyway?—this is the place to be!

    Using real fossils and casts, high-tech moving models, vivid computer animations, and a recreated Mesozoic forest, the exhibition highlights cutting-edge research by Field Museum staff and scientists around the world. You can watch a robotic T. rex run, touch a real Triceratops horn, and use new computer software to see how an Apatosaurus moved its long neck. You’ll learn about the latest fossil finds, see what mysteries are being revealed by new technologies, and discover how scientists are changing their ideas about how dinosaurs lived…and how they died.

    Guide Contributions: American Museum of Natural History © 2005. Adapted for The Field Museum by Richard A. Kissel, Science Program Developer; Elizabeth Babcock, Director of Education and Library Collections; Monica Garcia, Manager of Teacher Programs and Partnerships

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  • The Field Museum • DINOS • Educator Guide Page 2

    corresponding illinois learning standards (ils)

    The Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) define what all students in all Illinois public schools should know and be able to do in the seven core areas as a result of their elementary and secondary schooling. The classroom assessments are resources to help teachers determine local performance expectations for the Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) at each grade level. For more information on the ILS, visit

    Use of materials in this educator guide in combination with a field trip to the exhibition will help you link learning experiences to the following Illinois Learning Standards (ILS). Teachers will need to identify descriptors and benchmarks to individual lesson plans, larger units of study, and to specific subject area. This exhibition, while suitable for all students regardless of grade level, maps closely to concepts studied in later elementary, middle school, and high school.

    English Language Arts: Goal 1: Reading; Goal 2: Literature; Goal 3: Writing; Goal 4: Listening; Goal 5: Research

    Mathematics: Goal 6: Number Sense; Goal 7: Estimations & Measurement; Goal 8: Analytical Methods

    Science: Goal 11: Inquiry & Design; Goal 12: Concepts & Principals; Goal 13: Science, Technology, & Society

    Social/Emotional Learning (SEL): Goal 1: Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success; Goal 2: Use social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships.

    Photo by Roderick Mickens © American Museum of Natural History

  • The Field Museum • DINOS • Educator Guide Page �

    Adaptation: A feature that contributes to an organism’s success and survival in its environment.

    Autotroph: An organism that uses energy from the sun or energy stored in chemical compounds to manufacture their own nutrients (e.g., green plants).

    Biomechanics: The study of how animals—past and present—move. To study biomechanics, scientists look at how bones fit together, move in relation to each other, and—in living animals—how ligaments and muscles work.

    Community: The organisms of an ecosystem.

    Cretaceous Period: The third and final period of the Mesozoic Era, ranging from about 141 to 65 million years ago. Snakes and plants with flowers first evolved during the Cretaceous Period, and modern types of mammals—including placentals and marsupials—inhabit the Earth. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, a mass extinction wiped out 50% of all species, including all dinosaurs except birds.

    Dinosaur: A group of reptiles that walked with their legs directly beneath their body and characterized by a hole in the hip socket. Dinosaurs first evolved during the Triassic Period, some 230 million years ago. Most went extinct during a mass extinction 65 million years ago; birds are the only dinosaurs that survived.

    Display Structure: A physical feature of an animal—such as antlers or frills—used to attract mates or recognize members of their own species.

    Ecosystem: The organisms living in a particular environment, such as a lake or forest, and the physical part of the environment that affects them. The organisms alone are called the community.

    Evolution: The accumulation of inherited changes in populations of organisms over the course of generations. Evolution explains how species change over time and evolve into new species, and how what we see today may differ from the past. Evolutionary theory explains the diversity of life through the process of descent with modification.

    Extinction: When a species dies out forever. Small numbers of species are going extinct all the time, but mass extinction events are responsible for wiping out much of the species diversity in the past.

    Food Web: A model that shows all the possible feeding relationships within a community.

    Fossil: The remains or traces of organisms that were once alive. Fossils can included bones, trackways, skin impressions, etc.

    Heterotroph: An organism that cannot make its own food and must feed on other organisms for energy and nutrients.

    Words to Know

    Photo by Roderick Mickens © American Museum of Natural History

  • The Field Museum • DINOS • Educator Guide Page �

    Jurassic Period: The second and middle period of the Mesozoic Era, ranging from about 210 to 141 million years ago. Birds first evolved during the Jurassic.

    Mass Extinction: When a large proportion of species go extinct within a relatively short time (several million years) across much of the world. There have been at least six mass extinctions in the four billion years since life began.

    Mesozoic Era: The period of Earth’s history from about 250 to 65 million years ago; often known as “The Age of Dinosaurs.” It includes the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.

    Natural Selection: The driving mechanism of evolutionary change: organisms that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and therefore more likely to pass along their successful features to their offspring. The concept of natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin in his 1859 On the Origin of Species.

    Paleontologist: A scientist that studies extinct organisms, such as dinosaurs.

    Paleontology: The science that investigates extinct organisms and the history of life on Earth.

    Theory: An explanation of some phenomenon of the natural world that is well supported by the evidence at hand.

    Trackway: A series of footprints made by an animal.

    Triassic Period: The first period of the Mesozoic Era, ranging from about 250 to 210 million years ago. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and mammals all first evolved during the Triassic Period.

    Words to Know continued

    Photo by Dennis Finnin © American Museum of Natural History

  • The Field Museum • DINOS • Educator Guide Page 5

    introduction to the exhibition

    o f the untold number of animals that have evolved and gone extinct during the past 600 million years, perhaps none have fas- cinated the human mind as much as dinosaurs. Their time on Earth began around 230 million years ago, during the Triassic Period, and they continued to dominate the landscape for the next 150 million years. They diversified into a host of fantastic

    forms, from the truly gigantic, long-necked sauropods like Apatosaurus to Microraptor, a small meat-eating dinosaur that had long feathers on its arms—and legs! But 65 million years ago, a mass

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