Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Benchmark Question: How are groups of living things
Focus Question: Using a variety of classification
systems, how can we classify different groups of organisms?
Students need several
experiences classifying organisms in order to understand better the key
scientific concepts of diversity and unity of living things. Each student
should be given a similar set of 15 to 20 pictures of vertebrate and
invertebrate animals. Students should then sort the pictures into different
groups, according to their own classification system. Have them repeat this
process two more times, using different classification rules each time.
Students then will record each sort on paper, give each group a title, and
list common characteristics they used to classify these organisms.
Next, students will form
pairs and share their data. Each team will use their data to select a
system they think will work best. The teacher should continue to combine
pairs of students and have them share their method until the entire class
agrees upon one system.
Discuss, as a class, the
titles for each group and identify characteristics for each group of
Students should become
familiar with the terminology contained in the key concepts. They should
also be introduced to more formal classification systems, such as a
dichotomous key (a tool used by scientists to classify organisms).