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Activity: What’s in a Name?

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

Materials

  • Table 1.12
  • Table 1.13
  • Table 1.14
  • Dictionary

Procedure

<p><strong>Fig. 1.13.</strong> Maximum sizes of various species of sharks scaled to relative size</p>

  1. Study the descriptions and diagrams of the 15 shark species in Table 1.12.
     
  2. Determine a common name for each of the sharks listed in Table 1.12. Record these in Table 1.12.
     
  3. Using the list of Latin and Greek parts of words relevant to sharks in Table 1.13, determine a scientific name for each of the sharks listed in Table 1.12. Record these in Table 1.12.
     
  4. Form small working groups. Your instructor will assign one of the shark species listed in Table 1.12 to your group.
     
  5. As a group, discuss the common and scientific names chosen for your assigned shark species. Select one appropriate scientific name and one common name.
     
  6. Present your group’s assigned shark species to the class. Explain how your group generated an appropriate scientific name with your class. Explain any debate or discussion you encountered within the group.
     
  7. Compare the names you determined in Step 2 and 3 for each of the shark species listed in Table 1.12 with actual scientific and common names listed in Table 1.14 and Fig. 1.13.
     
  8. Identify the Latin or Greek parts of the shark’s actual scientific names in Table 1.14. Refer to the glossary in Table 1.13. Record your English translation of the scientific names. Record in Table 1.14.

 

Activity Questions: 
  1. Why is it important to name organisms?
     
  2. For the names you created in Table 1.12, describe the strategy you used to create
    1. the common names.
    2. the scientific names.
       
  3. For the scientific species name you created in Step 5 describe the process of creating the scientific name.
    1. How did your group choose a scientific name?
    2. Did all your group members agree on a name? If not how were you able to come to a consensus.
       
  4. Describe the process of choosing a scientific name with the class.
    1. How did your class choose a scientific name?
    2. Did all your classmates agree on a name? If not how were you able to come to a consensus.
       
  5. Explain how Steps 5 and 6 modeled practices of scientists.
     
  6. Did the common name you created in Table 1.12 match the actual common name in Table 1.14? Discuss any similarities or differences.
     
  7. Does the scientific name from Table 1.14 always describe an obvious feature of the species? Explain.
     
  8. Prionance glauca is sometimes referred to as the blue whaler shark because the shark used to attack the carcasses of whales being towed by whaling ships. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using common names like these.
     
  9. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using scientific names to describe species?

Table of Contents:

Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.