Biology

14th October 2005 at 01:00
KS3 Look at skeletons and investigate how the structure of individual parts is linked to function. There are photos of different skeletons at www.animalskeletons.net. Look at the jaws of modern carnivores, such as cats. Observe the large canines and the specialised carnassial teeth near the hinge of the jaw. Use scissors and cut cardboard to find out that the "strongest" cutting action is near the pivot of the scissors. Link this to the location of the carnassial teeth in the cat's jaw. Compare these teeth with those described for Tyrannosaurus rex.

KS4 Consider some of the problems associated with size in animals. Use Plasticine cubes of different side lengths (1cm, 2cm, 3cm and 4cm) and calculate the surface area-to-volume ratio of each. Draw graphs to show the relationship between this ratio and side length. Find out if there is a relationship with mass too. Do the well-known investigations modelling heat loss and gain in animals: with different sizes of container, monitor hot water cooling or ice melting and discuss how the findings relate to temperature regulation in mammals of different sizes . Ask students how these observations could apply to dinosaurs.

KS5 Look in standard texts for information about the geological record and trace the way animals have become extinct. Consider the trilobite, the sabre-toothed tiger and the dodo as well as specific dinosaurs, and examples of very recently extinct species, such as the Spanish Mountain Goat (see news.bbc.co.uk1hiscitech598799.stm)

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