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An activity which asks student to classify each other helps students to understand how Utah's plants and animals are classified.
This activity is meant to get students excited about grouping and classifying. Students need to get up and experience classifying to help them understand better how to use a classification key. This activity can be done with or without prior knowledge of sorting. It would help if students were familiar with the words classification and grouping.
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
2. Manifest scientific attitudes and interests.
Invitation to Learn
Take all of the students into a gym or a room with lines on the floor. (If neither are available create lines on your floor, use stairs, or find points of reference in your classroom.) Give each student a pattern block (but don't use the rhombus, the most narrow block) and explain that they need to follow your instructions based on what their block looks like. Use the following instructions to sort the students by their blocks.
Talk about how everyone moved at first, because they have one thing in common, but then found that they had differences. Discuss how the trapezoids, squares, and parallelograms were alike and different. Make sure to point out how the triangle is similar and different. After discussing, collect the shapes and return to class to begin the lesson. This activity will work with a variety of objects, but you should be able to get into groups in less than 6 steps or it will get too complicated.
Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration
Wolfe, P. (2001). Brain matters: translating research into classroom practice. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA.
The brain processes abstract information best after experiencing real things first and then symbolic representations. To analyze and compare information, the brain needs to be able to base it on an experience. When learning science, students need to be presented with real-life experiences and meaningful context that build a base for the abstract written problems we usually pose on tests.