Such fun! Science students of all ages love to use a dichotomous classification key to identify organisms. This particular activity is well suited for the younger scientists in grades 4-7, but I will admit that I tried this in my high school biology classes (9th grade) and they loved it as well!
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 is a two-part activity. In the first part of the activity, students will use the classification key for the Genus "Smiley" to identify the 9 different smiley organisms. In the second part of the activity, students will use pictures of 6 different insects to build and construct their own dichotomous classification key.
The 5-page student activity includes the following pages:
1. Dichotomous Key to the Genus "Smiley"
2. Pictures of 9 "smiley" organisms
3. Pictures of 6 different insects to use in part 2.
4. A two-page student answer sheet with 9 analysis questions.
Also included is a 2-page Teacher Guide with tips, suggestions, and a complete answer key.
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 have also used this in my high school biology classes 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.
Your download will include both an editable Word document and a pdf form of this activity.