Classifying Animals Lesson Plan: What is Classification?

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Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define the word “classification”

  • Students will participate in an activity where they classify items based on similarities.

  • Students will be able to describe how scientists use a classification system to group living organisms.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about a blueberry, a lemon, and an apple. What do they have in common? Are there any differences between them? Now, think about a lemon, a grapefruit, and a lime. Do they have more in common than the first group of fruit?

(The students should notice that the items in the first group are fruit. The students should notice that the items in the second group are still fruit, however, these fruits have a sour/citrus taste).

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • Have you ever heard of the word “classification”?

  • Do you know what it means to classify something? 

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: 

Free Life Cycle of a Butterfly PowerPoint

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

  • The definition of the word “classification” and what it means to classify objects.

  • How to look closely at a group of items and determine the similarities the items share.

  • How scientists use a classification system to group living organisms.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

Prior to the start of the lesson, slice the pear and the peach in half and set aside. Place the other fruits on individual plates and set aside. Draw six columns on the board and label them: apples, plum, strawberry, raspberry, pear, and peach.

  • The teacher will begin the class by showing the students the plates of fruit and asking them to identify what fruits are present. Begin a discussion about the fruits—ask about color, size, shape, taste, and where the seeds or pits are located. As the students give you a characteristic of a fruit, write it in the correct column.

  • Tell the students that you want to classify these fruits. Explain that when you classify something you look at the similarities the items share. The items are all fruits, however, not all fruit are the same. Tell the students that you would like to classify the fruit based upon where the seeds are located. The students should be able to tell you that the apples, plum, pear, and peach all have their seeds on the inside and should be grouped together. The strawberry and the raspberry have their seeds on the outside and should be grouped together. Now, tell the students that you want to classify the fruits by color. The students should be able to tell you that the red apple, strawberry, and raspberry belong together because they are all red. The green apple and the pear should be grouped together because they are green. The plum and peach should be in separate groups since there aren’t other fruits in the group that match their color. Once the sorting is completed, ask the students questions about what they noticed. Explain that classifying objects is very important, especially in science.

  • Begin a discussion about classification in science. Explain that scientists have created many different groups that they classify living organisms into. When we think about animals, we think about elephants, bears, tigers, snakes, etc. They are all animals, however, they have different characteristics. Elephants, bears, and tigers are all mammals, however, snakes are reptiles. When we classify, we need to look closely at the group of items. The items may all be the same type; however, the smaller characteristics are what make them different. Classification is important in science because there are so many living organisms. Scientists have spent a long time/ many years creating classification systems that make it easier for us to learn about/ identify living organisms.

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet “What Doesn’t Belong?”. If it is possible, project the “What Doesn’t Belong” worksheet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project. Students will look at the name of the items in each group and determine what doesn’t belong. From this activity, the students will learn to closely observe items to determine what similarities they share.

  • After the worksheet is completed, the students will participate in an activity called “Classifying Objects”. The students will work in groups of three. Each student will get a “Classifying Objects” worksheet. At desks around the room will be different stations. Each station represents a different part of a house (desk, bedroom, kitchen, backyard, and living room). The students will go around to each “part of the house”, look at the items, and determine how they would classify them.  For example, in the “living room”, there are pictures of a TV, radio, magazines, and a newspaper. The students can group those items as “entertainment” and then group the TV and radio into “entertainment you listen to or watch”. Allow the students to work for about 10-15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

**Each group may have a different way they classified the items.**  

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

Think about what you learned in class today about classification. In what ways is classification helpful? Why do scientists classify living organisms? What are some ways you can classify items of a group?

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Activity: Classifying Fruit

  • Discussion: Classification and Science- “What Doesn’t Belong?” worksheet

  • Activity: “Classifying Objects”

  • Discussion of Activity

  • Independent Assessment

15 minutes

Introductory Activity: Classifying Fruit

  • Place each fruit on a paper plate.

  • On the board, draw six columns and label them:  apples, plum, strawberry, raspberry, pear, and peach

  • Begin a discussion about the fruits.

  • Ask the students about color, size, shape, taste, and where the seeds or pits are located. As the students give you a characteristic of a fruit, write it in the correct column.

  • Begin a discussion about classification/ importance of classification in the science world.

10 Minutes

Classification and Science

  • Give each student a “What Doesn’t Belong?” worksheet.

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

  • Students will look at the items in each group and determine what doesn’t belong.

15 Minutes

Activity: “Classifying Objects?”

  • Have the students break into groups of three.

  • Give each student a “Classifying Objects” worksheet.

  • Tell the students that there are stations set up around the room that are meant to be parts of a house.

  • Tell the students to look at the pictures and decide how they would classify the objects.

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

Closure/Assessment
15 minutes

Independent Assessment:

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

Think about what you learned in class today about classification. In what ways is classification helpful? Why do scientists classify living organisms? What are some ways you can classify items of a group?

  • Appropriate answers should include (but will vary):

Classification is important because even though items are grouped together, there are characteristics that make them different. For example, elephants, tigers, and snakes are all considered animals. However, snakes are reptiles, while elephants and tigers are mammals. Scientists classify living organisms because there are so many different species. Classifying organisms makes it easier for the scientists talk and learn about them. When classifying items, you need to look closely at the group. You can classify items by almost any characteristic. For example, when classifying fruit, you can put all the fruits with seeds on the inside together. You can also classify them by color or taste.

  • If there is additional time, discuss questions from the classifying objects 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.

Classifying Animals PowerPoint & Activities
Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities

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ryan@elementaryschoolscience

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