Activity for The Origin of Birds
This activity explores the concepts and research presented in the short film Great Transitions: The Origin of Birds, including key fossil discoveries that reveal the evolutionary relationships between birds and theropod dinosaurs.
The Origin of Birds explores the evidence that birds descended from a group of carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods. By following this trail of discovery, the film illustrates many of the iterative and inquiry-based practices of science: asking important questions, formulating and testing hypotheses, analyzing and interpreting evidence, and revising explanations as new evidence becomes available. The “Student Handout” probes students’ understanding of the key concepts addressed in the film. The “Educator Materials” document provides suggested pause points in the film with questions for students, background information, and detailed discussion points; a list of related resources and references; and an answer key for the “Student Handout.”
Student Learning Targets
- Describe the key fossil evidence that supports the claim that birds are dinosaurs.
Archaeopteryx, Deinonychus, dinosaur, feather, fossil, theropod
Ostrom, John H. “Osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus, an Unusual Theropod from the Lower Cretaceous of Montana.” Peabody Museum of Natural History Bulletin 30 (1969): 1–165.
HS-LS4-1, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5; SEP6
1.A.1, 1.A.4, 1.C.1, 4.B.4; SP6
5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 10.3
CC1, CC2; DP1