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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.

Learning from Past Extinctions

In this talk, biologist Anthony Barnosky discusses Earth’s five mass extinctions and whether current species declines may be part of a sixth mass extinction.

The Day the Mesozoic Died

This film 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.

Finding the Crater

This activity supports concepts covered in the film The Day the Mesozoic Died. Students will analyze geological evidence from ten different sites around the world to predict the location of the asteroid impact that caused the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction: On Land

This activity supports concepts covered in the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died. Students analyze graphs and data on pollen grains and fern spores to form a picture of the living landscape before and after the mass extinction that marked the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

Determining the Size and Energy of the K-T Asteroid

This activity allows students to calculate the mass, size, and kinetic energy of an asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago, based on the total abundance of iridium in a sediment layer. It supports concepts presented in the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died.

Following the Trail of Evidence

In this activity, students identify and explain the evidence presented in the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth about 66 million years ago, causing a mass extinction.

Activity for The Day the Mesozoic Died

This activity explores the research described in the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died. The film traces the uncovering of key clues revealing that an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction.

Chemical Signatures of Asteroid Impacts

This activity allows students to analyze the chemical data that led researchers to conclude that a layer of clay at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene rock layers (the K-Pg boundary) contained an extraordinary concentration of iridium.

Calculating Iridium Fallout From an Asteroid Impact

This activity allows students to calculate how much iridium was released, and eventually deposited all over the Earth, by the impact of an asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago. It supports concepts presented in the short film The Day the Mesozoic Died.