Standard 2/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Benchmark Question: How are groups of living things
Focus Question: How can observable characteristics
help us classify animals?
Read a biography of Gregor Mendel to students and
discuss his contributions to the classification of living things.
Divide students into groups
of four. Provide each group with a container filled with approximately
twenty different items. Ask each group to find a small, inconspicuous item
in the container. Appoint one student in each group to be the “timer” and
record how long it takes the group to find the item.
Challenge each group to
divide the items in their container into three groups or categories. Groups
then will explain the criteria they used to group the items. All of the
items will then be returned to the container and the students will divide
the items into four groups or categories, again providing their rationale.
Repeat the process once more, this time challenging the groups to create five subdivisions.
With the items still sorted
into five categories, ask each group to find another small, inconspicuous
item and have the “timer” record how long it takes the group to find the
item. Bring the whole class together and discuss the differences in the two
times. (Reflect on how categorizing the items made it easier to find a
As a class, use one of the
team’s groupings and further subdivide. The class will then create a
graphic organizer of the new groupings.