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This series of worksheets start out by explaining the difference between taxonomy and classification. As students begin to learn the complexities that are examined by a taxonomic structure, we start to have them explore this in detail. Students will begin naming all types of different creatures. We will finish off by spending some time with the single celled protist which are representatives of simple alga. We have several sheets that help students begin to understand how organisms are grouped and sorted.
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Print classification worksheets, click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key., taxonomy and classification.
Number the seven major taxonomic groups in order from the one containing the largest number of types of organisms to the one that containing only one. This worksheet has students look at all the characteristics exhibited by members of each Kingdom.
Classification of Animals and Microbes
Fifteen different organisms are shown below. For each, provide the common name and the name of the phylum to which it belongs.
Classification of Protists
See what you know your single celled pals. Match the description or definition in the left column with the correct word in the right column. Note that not all words in the right column are used.
Circle the choice of the correct answer. We see what makes these things tick
Why Do We Classify Organisms?
The world consists of trillions of living organisms- possibly even hundreds of trillions. In fact, one estimate holds that there are about 8.7 million species of living organisms in the world. When we talk about species, it is one of the many ways we classify organisms-but why is this classification necessary?
We classify organisms because it makes studying them much more manageable. It also makes talking about these organisms easier, as we can better communicate that we are talking about a group of organisms rather than an individual organism.
Carolus Linnaeus (a Swedish Scientist) recognized early that we needed to clearly be able to communicate to each the exact organism we were discussing. Not all dogs are the same, just like elephants. Linnaeus created a set of rules for naming system for organisms from bacteria to the blue whale. Linnaeus chose to use Latin words to define names in the scientific system. He found that each organism could be clearly defined in a naming system consisting of seven levels. The naming system starts as general as naming a Kingdom of each organism which defines if the organism is an animal, plant, protest, fungi, bacteria, or prokaryote. When students first start to work the various levels of animal and plant classification, they often do not see the point in it. Classification is very important because it ensures that scientists are studying the correct organism. There are thought to be just under nine million different species on Earth, it is proper scientific procedure to make certain you catalog which species you are studying.
Reasons We Classify Organisms
There is such a vast array of organisms on the planet that it's simply impossible to study each individually—even if every human engaged in the pursuit.
Classification Makes Researching Organisms Easier
Classifying organisms according to shared characteristics makes researching them easier- we can study a few specimens from a particular species, for example, and then extrapolate that our findings will hold for the rest of the species.
For example, consider dogs (or the species Canis familiaris ). There are approximately 900 million dogs worldwide, so checking every dog in the world to see if they have four legs is implausible. However, it is possible to extrapolate that (barring injury or illness) they will all have four legs because other examples of their species do so.
This example is relatively simple-though you can extend the model to more complex types of research. For instance, we can extrapolate that organ transfer is possible for all healthy humans without testing it on all healthy humans because it has worked in the past. Researchers also use this concept when researching medications and the properties of a particular organism.
Classification Makes Talking About Organisms Easier
Aside from making it easier to study living organisms, we classify organisms because it makes talking about them more manageable. For example, consider a situation where two cats of different colors are in front of you.
“Cat” is a classification. Because this classification exists, you can distinguish between the two easily by saying “black cat” and “white cat.” If these classifications did not exist, communicating would be made more complex.
It would be even more challenging if the cat were not in front of you-you would have to describe what a cat looks like, saying, “a creature that walks on four legs and meows.” As you can see, one could easily misunderstand this description-it applies to both domestic cats and larger feline predators like snow leopards and cheetahs .
When you can classify a cat as a cat—or even an animal as an animal-it makes it much easier to talk about them to another person.
How We Classify Organisms
Taxonomists classify organisms according to the following format:
- Domain : The highest order of classification. There are three domains—bacteria, archaea, and eukarya.
- Kingdom : There are generally five or six accepted kingdoms—Animalia, Plantae, monera, fungi, Protista, and (occasionally) archaea.
- Phylum : This classification separates organisms in a kingdom based on how closely they are related evolutionarily and what similar features they share.
- Class : Organisms of the same class share physical similarities, which are more pronounced within the category than within the Phylum.
- Order : Like class, taxonomists differentiate organisms from the same class into orders depending on physical similarities. For example, Artiodactyla is an order of the class Mammalia where all members have cloven hoofs and even-numbered toes.
- Family : Again, classification into families depends on shared physical similarities between members of an order. For example, Canidae is a family where all members have the same basic physical form and walk on their toes.
- Genus : Members of a Genus are very closely related and share numerous physical similarities. For example, the members of the genus Panthera include lions and tigers. These animals are visibly more similar to bobcats, despite all three being members of the Family Felidae.
- Species : The most fundamental unit of classification; all species members are capable of breeding with each other and producing fertile offspring. This reproductive consideration is why lions and tigers are not the same species—while they can reproduce, they do not produce fertile offspring. However, different dog breeds can breed with each and produce fertile offspring, because all dogs share the same species.
We classify organisms because it makes research significantly easier. Additionally, it makes it much easier to communicate what you’re talking about with other researchers and other people in general.
Science Classroom Teacher Resources
- Have students do this NOVA activity for classifying fish. The worksheet is in html or ( pdf ) .
- Try this “ Animal Classifications ” game.
- This “ Drag and Drop ” game has students put the classification categories in the correct order.
- Have students do this “Classification” ( doc ) wordsearch puzzle with answers ( doc ) .
- Here is an activity for making a cladogram ( pdf ) .
- Using a dichotomous key to identify “ Pamishan Creatures .”
- Use a dichotomous key to identify imaginary creatures of the genus “ Norno .”
- Try this “ Interpreting Graphics–Taxonomy ” worksheet.
- “ All In the Family ” is an online PBS activity in which students construct a cladogram.
- “ Molecular Evidence for Evolutionary Relationships ” is a Teacher’s Domain lesson (You must register for free to access.) that includes videos, readings, and worksheets. In one activity, students construct a cladogram.
- Try this “Cladograms and Genetics” ( doc ) activity from Mrs. Rebello .
- And do Mrs. Rebello’s “Constructing a Cladogram” ( doc ) activity, and extention of the Biology Corner activity.
- In “Harry Potter and the Dichotomous Key” ( pdf ) students use a key to classify jelly beans.
- Have students classify these “Creepy Critters” ( pdf ) into similar groups. Creepy Critter cards ( pdf ) are included.
- Use pictures of labware (or the actual labware) to make a dichotomous key ( doc ) . This diagram ( doc ) can be used to organize the labware.
- “ Cladistics Is a Zip. . . Baggie ” uses ziploc bags of varying sizes to produce a cladogram. PDF files are included for student handouts and much more.
- NOVA ‘s “ Hardware Organism ” lab has students classify types of screws and nails and develop a cladogram for them. It includes HTML and PDF handouts for students. I developed a blank characterics chart and cladogram ( doc ) to use with this activity.
- Glencoe’s Section Launcher movie, “Classify This”: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/science/biology/bio2000/. . .
- Good pictoral of six kingdoms: http://www.ric.edu/ptiskus/Six_Kingdoms/Index.htm
- The phylogenetic relationships of major groups: http://www.bookrags.com/research/phylogenetic-relationships-of-major-ansc-04/
- Biography of Carl Linnaeus: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/linnaeus.html
- Good tutorial on dichotomous keys with several exercises: http://www.biologyjunction.com/dichotomous_keying.htm
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Biology lesson plans, worksheets, tutorials and resources for teachers and students.
Practice with taxonomy.
Though Next Generation Science Standards does not emphasize the memorizing of major groups anymore, students can benefit from learning the basics of how animals are classified. Taxonomy is often introduced with evolution, where students learn how to analyze phylogenetic trees and create cladograms .
This worksheet is a simple reinforcement exercise that covers the six kingdoms and the classification system developed by Carolus Linnaeus. I teach my students to learn this system with the mnemonic “ K ing P hilip C ame O ver F or G reat S oup” though there are many other versions. Each letter corresponds with a level of classification: Kingdom, Phylym, Class, Order, Family Genus, Species. You can add “darling” to the front of the sentence if you also want to include DOMAIN.
What I’ve found is that students can memorize this sequence, but they struggle with the actual concepts. Many will not be able to explain why there are more individual species within a class than there are within an order. Hierarchies can be difficult. I often uses boxes of varies sizes to show how each level fits into the next one.
Download PDF Google Doc Key (TpT)
My slides for classification are shown below. They are Google slides and can be edited if you make a copy.
Hello Shannan, I am a bio teacher who was working in Saudi Arabia and now living in Perth. I received a contract to teach biology in a high school and the Lord enabled me to stumble upon your site which blew me off. Thank you so much for your effort to help students and teachers alike in this journey of learning science and biology in particular. I am deeply obliged for this immense kindness of opening a forum for us all to benefit. God bless you.
This site has been so helpful in the past for ideas, and even more so now as we are 100% online. You mention that we can make a copy of your google slide show on taxonomy and edit them ( I will of course give you credit)and usually I am pretty good with tech, but it appears your slide show is embeded in the page(?). How can I open the show in slides? Then I can proceed to make a copy. Thank you for being so willing to share.
That’s weird, usually the embed slides can be opened. Here’s the direct link, don’t forget to make a copy if you want to edit. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZcKMRbr-fosrmSWyPD1JSYZdhwF9fOiALUGswT1YGqU/edit?usp=sharing
First time seeing your site – it’s great! I have a question about your Classification Slides show: What are those two animals on the first slide? I think the one on the right is an Elephant Shrew of some sort? I have no idea about the black and white one on the left! I am burning with curiosity! Please help!
The black and white one is a tapir, juveniles have different coloration from the adults to blend into the forest. The mouse looking one is an elephant shrew.
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Print Classification Worksheets Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key. Taxonomy and Classification Number the seven major taxonomic groups in order from the one containing the largest number of types of organisms to the one that containing only one.
Taxonomy. The science of classifying organisms into groups. 7 classification groups in order. Kingdom (king), phylum (Phillip), class (came), order (over), family (for), genus (ginger), species (snaps). Heterotrophic. To get food from another source. Autotrophic. Makes their own food.
Answer these questions in your notebook. 1 List three different living things which you can see in Figure 1. 2 List ﬁve different non-living things which you can see in Figure 1. ACTIVITY 1 Figure 1 A Characteristics of living organisms Activity 1 will help you think about what makes living things dif-ferent from non-living things.
This worksheet is a simple reinforcement exercise that covers the six kingdoms and the classification system developed by Carolus Linnaeus. I teach my students to learn this system with the mnemonic “ K ing P hilip C ame O ver F or G reat S oup” though there are many other versions.
Classification helps understand the present diversity and past evolutionary history of life on Earth. _____ 2. Linnaeus grouped together organisms that shared obvious physical traits, such as...