Secrets from the Rocks:  Dinosaur Hunting with Roy Chapman Andrews

By Albert Marrin

# Introduction

Secrets from the Rocks: Dinosaur hunting with Roy Chapman Andrews by Albert Marrin tells the story of Roy Chapman Andrews’ adventures as he hunted for dinosaur fossils.  On his expeditions, he took with him a team of top scientists, and each of them played an important role in the expedition and each had knowledge in a specific sort of science.

Many of the processes required survive on these expeditions and to understand things about the dinosaur fossils they found required some knowledge about math.  Using this WebQuest, students will explore the ways in which math was needed on these expeditions.

The students will work through this WebQuest, answering questions that are related to both computational math and connecting math to the rest of the world.  Each problem contains a hyperlink to a Web site that will provide information useful for solving that problem.   Upon the completion of these problems, students will use the information they learned to create a presentation on what they learned.

The following NCTM standards will be met:

NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Standard 9, Connections, grades 6-8: Instructional programs from prekindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to—

• recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.

NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Standard 2, Algebra, grades 6-8: Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols

• use symbolic algebra to represent situations and to solve problems, especially those that involve linear relationships;

• explore relationships between symbolic expressions and graphs of lines, paying particular attention to the meaning of intercept and slope;

### Sources

Kazlev, M. A. (1998-2003). Palaeos Mesozoic:  The Mesozoic era-2.  Retrieved November 10, 2004, from http://www.palaeos.com/Mesozoic/Mesozoic2.html

Zobel, E. A. (1997-2001). Intersection of two lines.  Retrieved November 10, 2004, from http://id.mind.net/~zona/mmts/intersections/intersectionOfTwoLines1/intersectionOfTwoLines1.html

Col, J. (1997).  Whale information sheets—Enchanted Learning Software.  Retrieved November 10, 2004, from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/alphawhales.shtml

Marrin, A.  (2002).  Secrets from the rocks:  Dinosaur hunting with Roy Chapman Andrews.  United States:  Dutton Children’s Books.

#### Process

Part 1:

Use this Web site (http://www.palaeos.com/Mesozoic/Mesozoic2.html) to look up information on dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era and then find answers to the questions below:

1. Look up several of the dinosaurs mentioned throughout the book (and other dinosaurs) and find their measurements.  Compare the size of the dinosaurs you select to "dinosaurs" that are alive today.
2. List several other facts and theories about the dinosaurs you selected.  Give reasons for why scientists think different dinosaurs lived different ways.
3. Determine how long each of the periods of the Mesozoic Era were and list some of the dinosaurs from each period.

Part 2:

Remember that Roy didn't only hunt for dinosaur fossils.  He first began by studying different species of whales.  After visiting the website http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/alphawhales.shtml, answer questions 1 and 2 from above, except this time about the whales you see on this website.

Part 3:

On page 23, the author describes Roy's problem with how to transport the equipment and people in a timely fashion.  Using the information from the book, find the the linear equations that will represent the path of the camel and the path of the cars if the camels leave 6 weeks (42 days) before the cars.  Use the information from this Web site, http://id.mind.net/~zona/mmts/intersections/intersectionOfTwoLines1/intersectionOfTwoLines1.html, to find at what point the cars will meet the camels (where the lines intersect).  There is a calculator at the bottom of the page that may be helpful.  (Hint:  The slope of the lines will be how far each can travel in one day and the x-intercept of the lines is 0 for the camels and 42 for the cars.  You will need to find the y-intercept.)

##### Evaluation

Use the information from the first two parts to create a PowerPoint presentation that you may present to the class.  This presentation should include information about both whales and dinosaurs and how they relate to animals of our time.