This resource aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as it incorporates the scientific practice of constructing explanations and the cross-cutting concept of structure and function as students reason how different structures helped living things survive.
Titanosaurs, like all living things, had adaptations that helped them survive in their environment. After watching the video, ask students to describe what the environment was like where the titanosaurs lived. (The video shows tall plants that were tough to eat.)
Ask students to identify adaptations the dinosaurs had for the environment. (teeth for clipping vegetation, a long neck to reach plants without moving, and a long gut to digest the material)
The Adaptations in Ancient Trees and Dinosaurs handout can be used to help your students identify adaptations. Answers: Plant adaptations include tall trunks and tough leaves to stop organisms from grazing. Titanosaurs had sharp teeth for nipping leaves, long guts for digesting tough foods, and long necks for reaching food.
Comparing Dinosaurs to Living Things
Ask students to think about which parts of an animal are likely to decompose quickly after it dies, and which parts would take longer to decompose. You may want to use the example of a turtle to help your students focus.
Decompose quickly: blood, fat, organs and other soft parts
Decompose slowly: bones, teeth, shells
Relate how decomposition rates relates to the fossils of dinosaurs that we can find. (We are more likely to find fossils from the hard parts of dinosaurs, and less likely to find fossils of the soft parts.)
Discuss how living organisms can help us fill in the gaps about dinosaurs. For example, even though humans, cats, cows, and frogs are very different, they all have many of the same organs. Dinosaurs probably had stomachs and small intestines, too.
Use PBS LearningMedia resources to look at the digestive system of different organisms. Discuss what they probably had in common with dinosaurs, and why.
Assign directly to your students using the code or link above, without having them log in. Simply tell your students to go to
www.pbsstudents.org and enter the Assignment Code, or click on the Assignment URL to share the assignment as a link.