Students are given a list of 8 candies with their common name and "scientific name" provided. Students must create their own functioning dichotomous key from this list.
After students are done, have them switch and see if they can get the correct answer from their partner's dichotomous key.
Class or group discussions:
- Did everyone's dichotomous key look exactly the same? Why or why not? Does that mean that it is wrong? Why or why not?
- What sort of descriptions did you use to categorize your candies?
- Discuss the Latin (usually) root of scientific names
- Notice the similarities in genus names and a particular characteristic- what do you think it means to be in the "chocolatus" category?
*** I do not provide candy for the students to eat, but you can make it a competition: the first group to successfully create a dichotomous key wins their choice of one of the candies. Hey- anything to get the reluctant learners to try!