Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Name That Organism!

Lions! Tigers! Bears! Oh my. 

Let me try that again... Vertebrates! Invertebrates! Dichotomous keys! Oh my. 

Classifying organisms is all the rage in my classroom right now. After much discussion on vertebrates and invertebrates we took a day to dive into Dichotomous Keys. My google search bar has been running a marathon lately with the amount of searches I've done on this unit. While searching one day, I found this link to a "Donut Sort" for dichotomous keys.  Anything that involves food perks my interest pretty quick! 

Basically, groups of students are given six "unknown" donuts and must create their own key to identify each donut. I thought this sounded like a great idea! Then, I went to the grocery store and realized that I  don't even know six different types of donuts. After a few minutes of thinking wayyyyy too hard about donuts, I decided on "snacks". I gathered a few common snacks: wheat thins, cheez-its, goldfish, etc. 

After a few trial runs with dichotomous keys, I gave each group six ziplock baggies with unidentified organisms. In small groups, they had to classify their snacks based on their properties. 

No, those are not Cheez-Its!
Their goal was to create a key and identify each "organism" in the baggies. I gave little direction and let each group go for it! It was interesting to see how different groups tackled the project. Not only were the students collaborating and communicating with one another but they were talking about science!

After groups finished, I let each group present their individual keys on the SmartBoard. The end results were pretty spectacular across the board. All three classes approached it differently and each one was successful. Win win! 

Handy Dandy Textbooks and Science Notebooks
Now, before I hit the sack (yes, at 9:00 PM) a little motivation for your Wednesday.

You Said It, Mr. Mandela. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely be saving it!
    To The Square Inch


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