Classification Lab on Dichotomous Keys

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413 Ratings
Amy Brown Science
Grade Levels
7th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
36 pages
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Amy Brown Science
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In this classification lab activity, students will rotate through stations using a variety of dichotomous keys in order to classify 27 different invertebrates and vertebrates. All pictures and diagrams needed for the activity are included.

Both printable and digital versions of this resource are included. The student handouts can be printed or used in the paperless digital format in your Google Drive, Google Classroom, Microsoft OneDrive, or similar. This resource is perfect for traditional classroom settings, 1:1 schools, or for distance learning.

What is included in this resource?

  • Printable and Editable Student Lab Handouts
  • Digital paperless versions (not editable) for use in Google Drive, Google Classroom, and/or Microsoft OneDrive
  • 27 Full-color, high-quality photographs of animals that will be classified using the dichotomous keys
  • Teacher Guide and Answer Key

Suitable for Biology or Life Science Students in Grades 7 -12.

What is the Purpose of this Activity?

  • To teach students how to use a dichotomous classification key.
  • To review and reinforce the basic structural characteristics used in classification.
  • To encourage good observation skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Students will move and rotate through various stations set up in the lab or classroom. Each station will have a picture of an animal in the animal kingdom. The students will have a few minutes to look at the picture, observe the characteristics of the animal and determine its classification within the animal kingdom.

Students will choose between three simple classification keys: Dichotomous Key to the Classes of the subphylum Vertebrata, Dichotomous Key to the Phyla of Invertebrates, or Dichotomous Key to Selected Classes of the Phylum Arthropoda. Students will use the appropriate classification key and record their answers in a data table.

This activity is appropriate for middle school grades as well as high school general science and biology classes. This is one of my favorite labs that I do with my Biology I students. They love looking at the pictures of all the different animals and learning how to classify them.

Answers and Teacher Preparation Notes are included.

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Total Pages
36 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships. Emphasis is on explanations of the evolutionary relationships among organisms in terms of similarity or differences of the gross appearance of anatomical structures.


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