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The following instructional plan is part of a GaDOE collection of Unit Frameworks, Performance Tasks, examples of Student Work, and Teacher Commentary. Many more
GaDOE approved instructional plans are available by using the Search Standards feature located on GeorgiaStandards.Org.

Georgia Performance Standards Framework for Science – GRADE 7

DICHOTOMOUS KEYS AND CLASSIFICATION

Standards (Content and Characteristics):


Content Standards:

S7L1. Students will investigate the diversity of living organisms and how they can be compared scientifically.
a. Demonstrate the process for the development of a dichotomous key.
b. Classify organisms based on physical characteristics using a dichotomous key of the six kingdom system (archaebacteria,
eubacteria, protists, fungi, plants and animals).

Habits of Mind:

S7CS2. Students will use standard safety practices for all classroom laboratories and field investigations.
a. Follow correct procedures for use of scientific apparatus.
b. Demonstrate appropriate techniques in laboratory situations.
c. Follow correct protocol for identifying and reporting safety problems and violations.

S7CS3. Students will have the computation and estimation skills necessary for analyzing data and following scientific
explanations.
d. Draw conclusions based on analyzed data.

S7CS4. Students will use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulating equipment and materials in
scientific investigations.
c. Learn and use on a regular basis standard safety practices for scientific investigations.

S7CS6. Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.


a. Organize scientific information using appropriate simple tables, charts, and graphs, and identify relationships they reveal.
Georgia Department of Education
Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools
SCIENCEy GRADE 7 y DICHOTOMOUS KEYS AND CLASSIFICATION
JULY 2008 y Page 1 of 4
Copyright 2008 © All Rights Reserved 
One Stop Shop For Educators 
 

Georgia Performance Standards Framework for SCIENCE – GRADE 7


 

Enduring Understandings:
Differences and similarities exist within the structures and functions among the six kingdoms.
Dichotomous keys are made of paired and opposite statements that allow the reader to identify an organism.

Essential Questions: How can we use a dichotomous to classify various specimens from the six kingdoms?

ADMINISTRATION PROCEDURES

Outcome / Students will observe specimens of the six kingdoms and classify them by using a dichotomous key.
Performance
Expectations:

General Teacher I. Teaching and Learning Strategy: Dichotomous Keys and Classification
Instructions:
1. Set up approximately 30 stations in the room.
2. Each station should have one example specimen from the six kingdoms.
3. Students will need to take out their field notebook, journal, etc.
4. They can title their paper, “Using a Dichotomous Key to Classify”
5. Give each student a kingdoms dichotomous key.
6. Inform students to work in groups of two.
7. Instruct the groups to visit as many stations as possible, using the dichotomous key to classify the
organism to kingdom. Many specimens can also be classified out to phylum and class.

II. Assessment
1. Distribute and grade the dichotomous key assessment to determine learning outcomes for students.

Georgia Department of Education


Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools
SCIENCEy GRADE 7 y DICHOTOMOUS KEYS AND CLASSIFICATION
JULY 2008 y Page 2 of 4
Copyright 2008 © All Rights Reserved 
One Stop Shop For Educators 
 

Georgia Performance Standards Framework for SCIENCE – GRADE 7


 
Materials • A kingdoms dichotomous key for each student or group of students.
Needed: • Dichotomous key assessment for each student
• The following shows example specimens that can be set out in this investigation. Specimens can
be collected by students for homework or obtained from teacher/department collections.
Specimens may range from living, dead, or preserved. If 3-D samples are not available, then
images from magazines or the internet could be used.

I. Archaebacteria
• Obtain images from the internet to display

II. Eubacteria
• Set up a microscope with prepared slides of eubacteria
• Set up a microsope with a wet mount of yogurt to view bacteria cultures. A simple Internet
search provides procedures for preparing a slide.
• Obtain images from the internet to display

III. Protists
• Set up microscopes with slides of prepared protists
• Set up microscopes with slides or real protists (obtain elodea from the pet store and let the elodea
sit for several days in water; the water will be full of protists).
• Obtain images from the internet to display

IV. Fungi
• Set out mushrooms collected by students or from the grocery store
• Set out shelf fungi collected by yourself or by students
• Set out yeast obtained from the grocery store
• Set out moldy food items

Georgia Department of Education


Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools
SCIENCEy GRADE 7 y DICHOTOMOUS KEYS AND CLASSIFICATION
JULY 2008 y Page 3 of 4
Copyright 2008 © All Rights Reserved 
One Stop Shop For Educators 
 

Georgia Performance Standards Framework for SCIENCE – GRADE 7


 
V. Plants
• Set out various plant examples (mosses, ferns, a flowering plant, a cone-bearing plant, etc.)

VI. Animals
• Set out examples of various invertebrates
• Set out examples of various vertebrates

Safety 1. Inform students to handle all specimens with care.


Precautions: 2. Inform students to use the microscopes with care.
Task with
Student I. Teaching Activity: Classifying Specimens of the Six Kingdoms
Directions:
1. Set up your field notebooks, journals, etc. with the title, “Using a Dichotomous Key to Classify.”
2. With a partner, visit the stations in the room.
3. Use the kingdoms dichotomous key to classify the specimen out to kingdom. Key the specimen
out to phylum and class if the key allows this.
4. Record the common name of the specimen on your paper as well as the specimen’s classification
levels.

Georgia Department of Education


Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools
SCIENCEy GRADE 7 y DICHOTOMOUS KEYS AND CLASSIFICATION
JULY 2008 y Page 4 of 4
Copyright 2008 © All Rights Reserved 
Back

Kingdoms Dichotomous Key

Kingdom
1. A. unicellular Go to 2
B. multicellular Go to 3
2. A. prokaryotic Go to 5
B. eukaryotic Kingdom Protista
3. A. autotrophic/producer Plantae
B. heterotrophic/consumer Go to 4
4. A. no cell wall Animalia
B. cell wall Fungi
5. A. lives in extreme, harsh environment Archaebacteria
B. lives in milder environment Eubacteria

Kingdom Protista
1. A. heterotrophic Go to 2
B. autotrophic Common name=Euglena
2. A. moves with cilia Common name=Paramecium
B. moves with pseudopods Common name=Amoeba

Kingdom Fungi
1. A. produces a mushroom shaped fruiting body mushroom fungus
B. does not produce a mushroom shaped fruiting Go to 2
Body
2. A. produces a shelf-like fruiting body shelf fungus
B. produces a stalk-like fruiting body mold

Kingdom Plantae
1. A. Produces spores Go to 2
B. Does not produces spores Go to 3
2. A. Spores are located on the underside Phylum Pterophyta
of leaf-like organs
B. Spores are located in a capsule at Phylum Bryophyta
the top of a stalk
3. A. Produces flowers Phylum Angiospermae
B. Produces cones Phylum Gymnospermae
Kingdom Animalia
1. A. has a nerve cord or backbone Phylum Chordata: Go to 2
B. does not have a nerve cord or backbone Go to 3
2. A. feeds young milk with mammary glands Class Mammalia: Go to 4
B. does not feed young with milk Go to 5
3. A. is asymmetrical Phylum Porifera
B. is symmetrical Go to 6
4. A. has canine teeth Got to 7
B. has no canine teeth Order Herbivora
5. A. body covered with feathers Class Aves (Birds)
B. body not covered with feathers Go to 8
6. A. has an exoskeleton Phylum Arthropoda: Go to 9
B. does not have an exoskeleton Go to 10
7. A. has flat molars Order omnivore
B. has sharp, pointy molars Order carnivora
8. A. body covered with dry scales Class Reptilia (Reptiles)
B. body not covered with dry scales Go to 11
9. A. body has six legs Class Insecta (Insects)
B. body does not have six legs Go to 12
10. A. has tube feet Phylum Echinodermata
B. does not have tube feet Go to 13
11. A. leads a double life; gills as larvae and lungs Class Amphibia
as an adult Go to 14
B. does not lead a double life
12. A. body has eight legs Class Arachnida
B. body has more than eight legs Class Crustacea
13. A. has stinging tentacles Phylum Cnidaria
B. does not have stinging tentacles Go to 15
14. A. has a bony skeleton Class Bony fish
B. has a cartilaginous skeleton Class Cartilagenous fish
15. A. Has a tube-like body Phylum worms
B. Does not have a tube-like body Go to 16
16. A. Has a mantle Go to 17 Phylum molluska
B. Does not have a mantle Dead end
17. A. Has tentacles with suction cups Class Cephalopoda
B. Does not have tentacles Go to 18
18. A. Has two shells Class Bivalves
B. Has one shell Class Univalves
Back
Dichotomous Key / Classification Activity for the Six Kingdoms

1. A. unicellular Go to 2
B. multicellular Go to 3
2. A. prokaryotic Go to 5
B. eukaryotic Protista
3. A. autotrophic/producer Plantae
B. heterotrophic/consumer Go to 4
4. A. no cell wall Animalia
B. cell wall Fungi
5. A. lives in extreme, harsh environment Archaebacteria
B. lives in milder environment Eubacteria

DIRECTIONS: Use the dichotomous key above to classify each of the following organisms into
the appropriate kingdom. Write the kingdom name on the line.

1. _______________ This rather soft, low-lying organism spends its day taking nutrients from a
rotten log through its hyphae. It continues to undergo cell division and grow larger.
2. _______________ This organism spends its day roaming through the forest in search of food.
Its hunting techniques require use of its keen sense of smell and hearing.
3. _______________ This very small, thin organism spends its day using its flagellum to propel
itself through pond water. If sunlight is available, it can make its own food.
4. _______________ This tiny organism spends its day reproducing rapidly (about once every 20
minutes), often inside the bodies of other organisms. Its genetic material is not contained inside a
nucleus.
5. _______________ This organism spends its day in hot gases and molten rock deep within the
earth. This type of tiny organism existed billions of years ago.
6. _______________ This organism spends its day taking in carbon dioxide and releasing
oxygen through its stomata. It never eats but can grow many meters tall.
7. _______________ This organism spends its day moving through water or soil by using
pseudopods which may surround food and take the food inside its cell membrane.
8. _______________ This organism spends its day attached a hard underwater surface. Water
currents flowing through it provide the organism with food and oxygen and remove its wastes. It
has no organs, but some of its cells have specialized jobs.

BONUS: Besides classifying the kingdom, can you determine specifically what each organism
is? Write your answers in the spaces below. Be prepared to defend your answers. If you have
extra time, create an organism description of your own!

1. ____________________ 5. ____________________

2. ____________________ 6. ____________________

3. ____________________ 7. ____________________

4. ____________________ 8. ____________________