Unit/Task Title:Classification of Intertidal Organisms Grade Level:5-8 Course(s):Science Author:Dan O'Grady
Content Area(s) addressed in this unit/task:
Science and Technology
Content Standards and Performance Indications.
These standards refer to the Maine Learning Results:

S+T: A1, A2, A3
Guiding Principles taught and assessed in this unit:
Collaborative Worker
Versatile Thinker
Assessment criteria (how will you know when they know):
Students will create a table to group animals.
Students will be able to explain why they grouped the animals the way they did.
Lesson Description:
Introduce the idea that in order to learn more about life on earth, scientists organize all living things into increasingly specific groups based on similarities and differences with other organisms. As an example, humans are members of the following groups: Animals, Vertebrates, Mammals, Primates, Hominids. Each grouping has specific criteria which all members share. A great deal of the classification scheme depends on body form, and characteristics that can be readily observed.

Pass out the worksheet, and have children break into pairs to observe each of the animals on the sheet. Before they begin, explain to the students what the different types of symmetry are (none, radial and bilateral for this exercise) and what segmentation means (the earthworm is a good terrestrial example).

If you don't have enough animals for each pair, have each group start with one and pass them around until each group has seen them all. After they have filled in the worksheet, ask them why they chose each group. Also ask them which group lobsters would be a part of and why. Even if they don't get everything exactly right, they have gone through the process and hopefully understand how the system works.

This lesson works well after a field trip to the intertidal zone.

Other evidence to be collected that will insure understanding:
Product: completed table
Feedback given to students:
Personalized written comments
Personalized oral comments
What are the essential questions?
Opportunities for integrated technology - web resources:
What will insure understanding?
This lesson introduces students to the process of how scientists classify living things based on their physical structure. The goal is for the students to observe living specimens from the intertidal zone, fill out a table of different characteristics and put them into groups based on their observations.
Time neeeded to complete unit:
45 minutes
Resources needed:
Intertidal animals, cooler, cold packs, plastic containers, classification worksheets
Downloadable materials:
The classification worksheet download requires Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software in order to view the file. Most current computers have this software installed but if you find you need it just click below and download it.

Classification worksheet (36K)

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