AudiencePrimary school, Secondary school
Learning stageStage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4
Learning areaMathematics, Science
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The Winton Trackway is a dinosaur stampede which was uncovered in Queensland. Over 3000 fossilised footprints were left by dinosaurs on the shore of a lake about 95 million years ago. The sizes and shapes of the footprints indicate what types of dinosaurs made them and approximately how big they were. At least 160 different dinosaurs left their mark.
- When we walk our whole foot leaves a mark. When we run, usually only our toes leave a print and the space between the footprints becomes longer. In this way, it’s possible for scientists to work out from footprints whether a dinosaur was walking or running, if it moved on two or four legs, and even the dinosaur’s shape and size can be found out!
Download the Winton Trackway poster and print on A4. You can use the scale to help answer some of the following questions.
- How many dinosaurs do you think there were during the stampede? How many different types of dinosaurs do you think there were?
Using the scale, measure the sizes of the footprints, from heel to tip of its middle claw.
Record your findings.
- What do you think the dinosaurs were doing and where do you think they were going?
Role-play the varying directions the dinosaurs were going based on the footprints.
What do you think might have been happening?
- When animals run, they step on the front part of their foot and only leave a footprint of that part. How many of the footprints don't show the back part, or heel, of the animal?
Estimate the number of footprints created by running dinosaurs, and walking dinosaurs.
- How big do you think the dinosaurs were?
Scientists have figured out some formulas to help us estimate the size of dinosaurs based on the size of their footprints. Using your measurements from the first question, you can estimate the size of the dinosaurs:
- Multiply the answers by four to get the height of the dinosaur at its hip.
- Multiply the answers by 10 to get the length of the dinosaur from nose to the end of its tail.
Download and print the poster below. Follow the guiding questions to interpret what was happening at this scene millions of years ago.
Students can recreate the stampede by standing in the varying directions seen through the footprints!