Interactive Assessment for The Origin of Birds
Several questions are embedded within the short film Great Transitions: The Origin of Birds, which describes some of the most important fossil evidence showing that birds descended from dinosaurs.
The discovery of Archaeopteryx in a quarry in Germany in the early 1860s provided the first clue that birds descended from reptiles. But what kind of reptile? In the last 40 years, scientists have discovered 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.
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 fossil evidence presented in the film supports the hypothesis that birds are living dinosaurs.
Archaeopteryx, Deinonychus, dinosaur, feather, fossil, Julia Clarke, 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.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS4-1, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5; SEP6
EVO-1.D, EVO-1.N, EVO-1.O, EVO-3.G, SYI-2.C; SP1
5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 10.3
Topic(s): 2.6, 2.7
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H
CC1, CC2; DP1