This is a very simple and elementary classification key that can be used at the beginning of a unit on classification. The purpose of this key is to teach the students how to use a dichotomous key. A dichotomous key is a classification key that gives the students two choices to choose from before moving on to the next set of choices. Dichotomous keys are often found in field guide manuals.
This key is a classification key to a "crazy" animal kingdom of cartoon animals. It is very short and simple. Students are given pictures of some mixed up "animals" and will use the key to find out the name of the animal. After using this as instruction for teaching the concept of the dichotomous key, I would give the students a more complex key to try.
This product is very appropriate for elementary grades, and middle school grades. I use this every year in my high school biology class as a simple and silly way to teach dichotomous keys. My high school students find it entertaining. They quickly grasp the concept of the dichotomous classification key, and we move on to more scientific keys.
Answers are included. Your download will include both an editable Word document and a pdf form of this activity.
Hi Amy! Thanks for joining my Linky Party! I'm putting this on my Wish List! What would be the next lesson you would suggest for my fifth graders? Classification is part of our curriculum, but it's not too broad. Thank you!
How is the spider at the bottom left corner named Quincy? I don't see red spots---or any spots. Please help.
Also, is Queenie a ladybug? I struggled with that one because I told my students that ladybugs have wings and fly. But, it seems, according to the key, it does "not" have wings. So, if you could just clarify these two animals...that would be great.
Hi there. Thank you for your questions. I am happy to explain my reasoning. First of all, I wanted my students to learn to use a key, using only the characteristics that can see in these pictures. Many of these "animals" are not real, such as 2, 5, 7, and 12.
The spider in the bottom left hand corner (#10) has 4 red spots on its back. These spots are oddly shaped, but there are 4 spots of red color. As you classify this spider, you have to make a choice at step 7. Since it has more than 4 legs, you progress to step 11. At step 11 the choice is "has red spots" or "has yellow spots". This spider has red spots.
Animal #5 is Queenie. This is a picture of a fictitious animal. No wings are present. Wings are clearly visible in number 1, 3, 8, and 12, but not in number 5.
Please let me know if you need further clarification.