Dinosaur Division

4th Grade Activity - Teacher Directions


Summary

Students use division to compare the weight of a small car with that of different dinosaurs in Texas.

Background

Dinosaurs once roamed Texas. The fossils of 17 different dinosaurs have been found here, representing several different ages of dinosaurs. Even Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils have been found in Texas. One of the early dinosaurs, Shuvosaurus, looked like a big ostrich. The Torosaurus looked like a Triceratops. There were also little dinosaurs. One of these was the Technosaurus, found near Texas Tech University and named "Tech" like the university. This dinosaur was only 4 feet long and weighed just 25 pounds!

Most of the other dinosaurs were very large and weighed tons! Have students use a little math in order to comprehend the weight of these dinosaurs by comparing them to something we are familiar with, cars.

Skills

Mathematics: Division - division by single digit, division with remainders

Materials

Copy of the student page for each student
Pencils
Calculators, optional (Teacher choice)

Procedure
  1. After discussing dinosaurs and the activity, have students fill out a chart.
  2. Answers can be graded and discussed in class.

If one small car, such as a Volkswagen Beetle, weighs 2 tons, how many cars would it take to weigh the same as:

Dinosaur Weight = Number of Cars?
 T. Rex  7 tons    
 Alamosaurus  30 tons     
 Torosaurus   9 tons     

Answers:
T. Rex -= 3 1/2 cars (the remainder of 1 is actually a remainder of 1/2 of a car)
Alamosaurus = 15 cars
Torosaurus -= 4 1/2 cars (the remainder of 1 is actually a remainder of 1/2 of a car)

Additional Activity

Have students create a picture graph of their answers showing the weight of the dinosaurs in equivalent car cut outs.

Use the Learn About Texas Dinosaurs book to find ranges of weights of dinosaurs. Determine the average weight of large and small Texas dinosaurs.

Activity developed for TPWD by Vicki Almour.


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