Early Childhood

Teaching about observable features of animals

Hi Guys!

I am a preservice teacher who is trying to plan some lessons out about how to explain to students about grouping plants and animals according to observable features. I have a few activites planned, but I am struggling to think of different activities to do to help with teaching them. Providing reasons for them is really difficult for me to think of how to come about that.

Thanks!

Victoria Wang
Victoria Wang
630 Activity Points

Hi Victoria,

I've found an article here in the Learning Center that may be of help! It discusses an activity to help with animal classification, and gives ideas for both younger and older students. Let me know if you use it in your classroom!

https://common.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2505%2f4%2fsc07_045_01_42 

Does anyone else have any ideas?

-Megan

Megan Doty
Megan Doty
11847 Activity Points

Victoria,

    Recently I read somewhere about using community examples to teach this concept to students. By this I mean that you could give students the terms we use to classify (kingdom, phylum, class, etc.) and connect them to words the kids will understand like, "immediate family, extended family, community, country, etc.) so that they way we group classifications might make more sense to them. I hope this is helpful in some way!

          Lizzy Steele 

Elizabeth Steele
Elizabeth Steele
445 Activity Points

Victoria, 

One thing you could do is use pictures of certain animals that they are familiar with and have them list the similarities. From there you can describe the classification of animals and have them collaborate and sort the animal cards in groups. You could even turn this into a stations activity and do different types of animals like those who live in the ocean, the forrest, the jungle, ect. I think childre, especially of the younger ages, would benefit with the hands on activities. 

 

Taylor Hogan
Taylor Hogan
10 Activity Points

Our classifications have undergone many changes as we discover more about life and technology allows us to gather more facts about organisms. It is the nature of science to adjust our beliefs in the face of new evidence. You can mirror this in the lessons you are planning about grouping.

A popular introductory activity is to classify shoes! Search the Learning Center and online for plans. (There are many shoe classification lessons to create dichotomous keys - you may want to avoid those for now.)  This activity starts with each student putting their right shoe on a table or counter. (Warn them the day before so they aren't embarrassed by their socks!) In small groups, they go through the pile and determine what characteristics they will use to sort them for store shelves. Tell them to start with large, broad classifications and create subclasses as they feel necessary to guide customers to specific shoes. The groups should present a “family tree” of their final shoe categorization. The differences between groups can lead to a great discussion on how classification in science is debated and changed with new evidence and scientific arguments. Have the class agree on a classification system and test it out.

You can now move to biological classification by doing this same activity with photos or, better yet, live observations of plants, animals, fungi, and slides of bacteria. Compare what your students created with the currently accepted classification system used by scientists.


Hope this helps!

Gabe Kraljevic

 

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
4174 Activity Points

Here's a lesson I found! 

https://education.eol.org/lesson_plans/2-5_Classification_LessonOverview.pdf

 

Emily Williams
Emily Williams
20 Activity Points

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