This lab is designed to teach students about the methods of classifying organisms, dichotomous keys, and using the field of view in a microscope to estimate the size of an organism.
This lab includes a step by step procedure for classifying ten (10) unique aliens based on their physical characteristics. Students begin by cutting out all the aliens. Next, they answering a yes or no question, and then sort their aliens based on the their answer. Then the students come up with their own yes or no question and sort their aliens even further. In short, students are learning how to create a dichotomous key. Finally, students look through a simulated microscope and estimate the size of a tiny aliens and sort it along with the others.
This lab closely resembles Station 1 (Sorting Creatures) of the New York Sate Grade 8 Science Performance Test and would be a great practice lesson to prepare for that exam.