Modeling the Creation of a Dichotomous Key

Part of the "Which Plant is Which?" Collection

Goal

Students will classify organisms into groups and relate the determined groups with how and why scientists use classification.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required

Inside

Standards

  • S5L1. Students will classify organisms into groups and relate the determined ¬†groups with how and why scientists use classification.
    • b. Demonstrate how plants are sorted into groups

Materials

  • Chart paper and markers

Procedures

  1. Model the development of a dichotomous key using one shoe from each student. Separate the shoes into two groups by a defining characteristic using opposing statements (or a yes/no question), then subdivide each group in the same way until there is only one shoe in each category.
  2. Create a branching chart to document the way that the shoes were sorted then test the chart by using one shoe to start from the top answering the questions to see if it ends up in the same final category.