Taxonomy is the branch of science concerned with classification of organisms into Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species. With these activities, my kids have become pretty knowledgeable about many of these groups and they especially loved the labs!
This is the second time we’ve done this unit. The last time we did it, my youngest was 9 and she said she definitely needed to review this material again (she’s now 12). My 15 year old said she wanted to cover this material again… especially because we were going to be doing a number of labs once again.
Scientific Names Worksheets: All living things have a two-part scientific name. We talked quite a bit about the naming process, both how this was established by Linnaeus and then we did a few worksheets to learn about the scientific names for some animals .
I made some new sorting cards and added them into the the Scientific Classification and Taxonomy packet. I also added in some informational notebook pages that we went over as we did a couple of the labs.
We purchased live critters from Carolina.com (see the picture above!). This time we purchased Hydra, Daphnia and Planaria. I created some notebook pages about the Cnidarians (Hydra is in this phylum). And, I also made notebook pages on Platyhelminthes (the flatworms Planaria are in this phylum) as well as on Nematodes and Annelids.
For this section I made some sorting cards on the 5 sub-phyla as well as some of the classes that belong under each of those. There are also worksheets and notebook pages. The girls are doing research on a couple of the sub-phyla and will present that information to each other.
We laughed at how challenging the class names were to pronounce (we used dictionary.com to figure out how to pronounce Phthiraptera – lice!! Our goal was not to memorize all these different classes, but to explore a little deeper how challenging it is to organize and classify all the different organisms in existence!
My kids loved this unit because there were a lot of lab activities we could do at home… from watching live organisms under the microscope to some basic dissection activities.
It has an introductory activity about classification. As we started off this unit, we started off by talking about why we classify things. We learned about the dichotomous key and did a number of activities to understand how they work. We talked about why classification is useful and how we can do that in a way that is organized and logical.
History of Scientific Classification: From there we went on to talk about Linnaeus and how much the classification system has changed just in the last thirty years. I told the kids that the groupings we learned about is very likely to change by the time they study classification in college because things have changed so much!
We also looked at a taxonomy chart (for domestic cats) and talked about the way organisms are named (by genus and species). The reference sheet (below right) explains the human taxonomy chart and groupings.
Then, we started diving into understanding the modern taxonomy chart.
You saw some of the new materials above, but here are some more pictures of what is included:
Activities: To review all of the Animal Phyla we played quite a number of review games (they loved that!)
I also provided a separate pdf of a sample day. In that, I explained with pictures, some of the activities we did to review and learn new material. On that particular day we did about 9 different activities.
What age is this unit for? My kids were 9, 12 and 14 when we did this unit the first time and my girls are 12 and 15 doing this unit the second time. I recommend this unit for middle school and early high school. If you want to cover basic scientific classification with your younger kids, I recommend the Animal Unit. This includes vertebrate-invertebrate sorting cards, animal characteristics, feathers, fur, scales or skin, animal homes, and much more!
This packet is now more than 100 pages.
Scientific Classification & Taxonomy Packet is $6.99.
Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email from Sendowl (the service I use) to your PayPal email address, which will have a link you can click on to download the Scientific Classification and Taxonomy unit. (It will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by using the contact form.
Note: This packet is included in the Biology Bundle (see below).
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Be sure to check out our Biology BUNDLE of 5 here (and I’ve included pictures below)
The Biology Bundle of 5 includes these 5 packets:
1) Biology Unit (Biomes, habitats, food chains/webs, feeding relationships) – (70 pages)
2) Scientific Classification & Taxonomy Packet – Animal Kingdom, Scientific Naming, Taxonomy Chart (Domain, Kingdom, Pylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) with notebook pages, games, activities and lab ideas (100 pages)
3) Ocean Unit & Layers of the Ocean/Ocean Zone Activities (100+ pages)
4) Cells Unit (100 pages)
5) Botany Unit (70+ pages)
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