Interactive Assessment for The Day the Mesozoic Died
Several questions are embedded within the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died, which tells the story of the scientific quest to explain one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries: the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.
The film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants, and even microorganisms. This story can be used in several science classes, as it presents a stellar example of many different disciplines (geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and paleontology) contributing to a compelling hypothesis.
This version of the film with embedded questions contains automatic pause points, during which students answer questions about the film to assess their understanding of the concepts presented. After answering all the questions, students can view and print their answers.
Student Learning Targets
- Explain how the evidence presented in the film supports the hypothesis that the K-T extinction was associated with an asteroid.
asteroid, Cretaceous period, dinosaur, foraminifera, geologic record, K-T boundary, mass extinction, Paleogene period, Tertiary period
Alvarez, Luis W., Walter Alvarez, Frank Asaro, and Helen V. Michel. “Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.” Science 208, 4448 (1980): 1095–1108. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.208.4448.1095. To access this article, set up a free AAAS account.
Smit, J., and J. Hertogen. “An extraterrestrial event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary.” Nature 285, 5762 (1980): 198–200. https://doi.org/10.1038/285198a0.
HS-LS4-5, HS-ESS1-6; SEP6
1.A.4, 1.C.1, 4.B.3, 4.B.4; SP6
CC1, CC5; DP1