The Five Kingdoms of Life: All About Classifying Organisms

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Objectives:

  • Students will learn about the Five Kingdoms of Life.

  • Students will be able to describe the distinct characteristics of each of the Five Kingdoms of Life.

  • Students will be able to identify physical characteristics and classify an organism as a Moneran, Protist, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the word “kingdom”. What does it mean to you?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • Have you ever heard of the Five Kingdoms of Life?

  • Did you know that every living thing belongs to a kingdom?

  • What kingdom do you think humans belong in?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The Five Kingdoms of Life: Moneran, Protist, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.

  • How kingdoms help scientists classify living organisms based on similarities and differences.

  • Distinct characteristics of organisms in each of the Five Kingdoms of Life.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • The teacher will begin the class by showing the students the YouTube video: “Five Kingdoms” by BillNyeRulz. This video is about 6 minutes long and provides a basic overview of the Five Kingdoms of Life. Once the video is over, the teacher will begin a discussion with the students about what they learned/ what they found interesting.

  • It is important to explain that scientists use classification systems to help categorize organism based upon similarities and differences. Scientists look at the observable features—things they can see with and without a microscope. Scientists can classify living things further and make smaller groups based upon other features. Each Kingdom is divided into smaller groups. These groups or levels are: Phylum, Order, Class, Family, Genus, Species. **This topic is very detailed and should be taught as a separate lesson**

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet “The Five Kingdoms of Life”. If it is possible, project the “Five Kingdoms of Life” onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project so that the teacher can point to each section while they explain. Students will fill in their worksheet as each section is described. From this activity, the students will learn the names of the Five Kingdoms of Life, the key characteristics of organisms in each kingdom as well as examples of the organisms. **A teacher’s copy of the worksheet that should be projected is provided at the end of the lesson. The information listed below provides more details that should be taught to the students while explaining the worksheet.**

  • Moneran: one-celled/unicellular organisms that do not have a nucleus or organelles. The Moneran Kingdom has been on Earth for 3.8 billion years and is separated into two groups: bacteria and cyanobacteria. Bacteria can be both beneficial and harmful for us. Bacteria found in yogurt are beneficial, while a bacterium such as salmonella is harmful. Bacteria cause most illnesses. There are over 1800 species of Monerans.

  • Protist: one-celled organisms with a nucleus that are considered plant and animal. Some can move around in their environment (like animals) and some can make their own food (like plants). These organisms are more complex than Moreans and are typically found in water. Examples include algae and amoeba. There are about 38,000 species known.

  • Fungi: can be one-celled or many celled. Fungi were once considered plants, however, they do not make their own food. Fungi absorb food by using enzymes and absorbing organisms that are decomposing. So, fungi are considered decomposers. Fungi are motionless. Examples include mushrooms and yeast.

  • Plantae: multi-celled organisms. Plants cells contain chlorophyll (green pigment) that is essential for the process known as photosynthesis. Plants survive by taking in the energy from the sun and converting it into food. Plant cell walls are made of cellulose and stay in one place. Plants are separated into two groups: flower and fruit producing plants and non-flower and fruit producing plants. Scientists have found that the oldest plant fossil is about 4 million years old. Examples include ferns, trees, sunflowers.

  • Animalia: multi-celled and complex organisms with cells, tissues, organs, and systems. Animals cannot make their own food; they must rely on plants, fungi, and other animals as a source of food. Animals are separated into two groups: vertebrates and invertebrates. Vertebrates include mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish. Scientists estimate that animals have been around for 7 million years. There are about 1 million species of animals—making it the largest kingdom of all of the Five Kingdoms of Life. Animal sizes range from very small to very large and are found all over the world. Examples include worms, whales, and humans.

Information Sources:

http://www.kidsbiology.com/biology_basics/five_kingdoms_life/classification1.php

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/thezone/animals/animalid/kingdom.htm

http://www2.mcdaniel.edu/Biology/PGclass/webpagepictures2/5kingdoms.htm

http://www.factmonster.com/science/biology/five-kingdoms.html

http://www.softschools.com/science/biology/the_five_kingdoms/

  • After the information about each kingdom is explained, the students will participate in a brief activity called “Quick Thinking!” This activity is designed to check how well the students understand the information they just learned. On the board, the teacher will draw five columns and label them Moneran, Protist, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. The teacher will have five cards—one for each of the Five Kingdoms. Each card will have one important fact that the teacher just reviewed. The students will flip their worksheets over before the teacher begins showing the pictures. The teacher will read the fact and the students will have to decide which column the card belongs.

  • After the “Quick Thinking!” activity is completed, the students will participate in another activity called “What Kingdom Do I Belong In?” The students will work in groups of three. Each student will get a “What Kingdom Do I Belong In?” worksheet. Each group will get a Ziploc bag with 15 picture cards (3 for each of the five kingdoms). The students will read the description on the picture card and then work together to determine what kingdom the organism belongs. Allow the students to work for about 10-15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

**The animal category will be easy for the students. To make the material more of a challenge for them, encourage the students to decide if the animal is a vertebrate or invertebrate (does it have a backbone or not?). There is a section on the worksheet for these enrichment questions. If you have a student that may be struggling, use your discretion if you would want them to do these questions.**

  • Moneran: E-Coli; Vibrio; Lactobacillus

  • Protist: Plasmodium; Algae; Amoeba

  • Fungi: Mold; Portobello; Yeast

  • Plantae: Zinnia; Nettle; Jujube

  • Animalia: Orangutan; Centipede; Jellyfish

  • The final assessment will be for the students to answer the questions:

Think about what you learned in class today about the Five Kingdoms of Life. Why do you think scientists developed these kingdoms? What did the scientists look at when developing these kingdoms? Do you think that scientists will ever develop more kingdoms of organisms? What did you notice about the organisms in each kingdom? What are the similarities? What are the differences?

Free Life Cycle of a Butterfly PowerPoint
Classifying Animals PowerPoint & Activities
Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Video: “Five Kingdoms” by BillNyeRulz 

  • Discussion: Classification & Five Kingdoms of Life

  • Activity: “What Kingdom Do I Belong In?”

  • Discussion of Activity

  • Independent Assessment

10 minutes

Introductory Video: “Five Kingdoms”:

  • Once the video is finished, begin a discussion about what the students noticed.

  • Explain the importance of classification of living organisms.

15 Minutes

The Five Kingdoms of Life

  • Give each student a “Five Kingdoms of Life” worksheet.

  • Project the worksheet onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • Tell the students that as each part is explained, they should fill it in on their worksheet.

15 Minutes

Activity: “What Kingdom Do I Belong In?”

  • Have the students break into groups of three.

  • Give each student a “What Kingdom Do I Belong In?” worksheet.

  • Give each group a Ziploc bag with picture cards of living organisms.

  • Tell the students to read the description on the picture card and then work together to determine what kingdom the organism belongs

  • At the end of 15 minutes, have the students return to their desks and discuss their observations.

Closure/Assessment
15 minutes

Independent Assessment:

  • As an independent assessment, the students will answer the questions:  

Think about what you learned in class today about the Five Kingdoms of Life. Why do you think scientists developed these kingdoms? What did the scientists look at when developing these kingdoms? Do you think that scientists will ever develop more kingdoms of organisms? What did you notice about the organisms in each kingdom? What are the similarities? What are the differences?

  • Appropriate answers should include (but will vary):

Scientists developed the Five Kingdoms of Life as a way to classify living organisms. Scientists looked at observable features and classified the organisms that were the same. Since organisms are always being discovered, it is possible that more kingdoms will be created. The organisms in each category were set up the same—either they were one-celled or multi-celled. The organisms either made their own food or relied upon other sources for food

  • If there is additional time, discuss questions from the Five Kingdoms activity.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.

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© 2017 by Elementary School Science. 

ryan@elementaryschoolscience

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