Taxonomy, Classification, and Dichotomous Keys – Pamishan Creatures

Pamishan Creatures
Pamishan Creatures

Resources:

  • Lesson Sources:
    • Biology Corner (link) and handout (pdf)
    • answer key (pdf)
  • Alien Classification: Creepy Critters (link) and (pdf) with alien cards
    • Updated 8/3/18 – no longer posted on their website
    • click here to download original lesson plan: Creepy_Critters (pdf)
  • BrainPOP Classification Video (link)
  • Dichotomous Key Tutorial Video (link)

How to use the key:

Students will start with Creature # 1 and work their way through the key until it has been identified. Starting with 1a and 1b, students will determine if the creature has the trait (yes) or does not have the trait (no) and follow the instructions stated to determine their next step. They will continue working their way through the  key using the creature’s characteristics until they have narrowed it down to only one possible answer.

Once they determine the Creature’s scientific name, they place the #1 next to the scientific name. Optional – they can write the name of the creature under the image of the creature, too. To continue, students will go back to creature #2 and work their way through the key again, and so on, until all 20 have been identified.

Using Creature #5 as an example:

  • 1b) The creature has a small narrow head……………………..go to 11 (NO)
  • 1a) The creature has a large wide head……………………….go to 2 (YES)
  • 2a) It has 3 eyes …………………………………………go to 3 (YES)
  • 2b) It has 2 eyes …………………………………………go to 7 (NO)
  • 3a) There is a star in the middle of its chest………………..go to 4 (YES)
  • 3b) There is no star in the middle of its chest ………………go to 6 (NO)
  • 4a) The creature has hair spikes ……………………………Broadus hairus (YES) (#5)
  • 4b) The creature has no hair spikes………………………….go to 5 (NO)

‘Alien Juice Bar’ – Cabbage Juice and pH Values

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This classic interactive website is a great way to practice identifying acidic, basic, and neutral substances along with reading pH values. There are three different levels which increase in difficulty as the students complete each activity.

Challenge 1 – students have to identify and categorize the different ‘juices’ that they will serve to the aliens as either Acids, Bases, or Neutral.

Challenge 2 – students will practice serving requested juices to aliens, but if they serve a juice from the wrong category, aliens can become sick, or worse!

Challenge 3 – students have to change the pH values of the juices on the tray by either adding acids or bases to raise or lower the pH values.