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Further Investigations: Classification of Life

  1. Create an identification key for a set of organisms. Consider the following:
    1. How do you know if your key works?
    2. What kinds of characteristics were most useful in your key?
    3. Which “organisms would be easiest to confuse in your key?
    4. How is language and word choice important when making a key?
  2. Choose any organism you are interested in and do a webquest to find out about its classification.
    1. What are the features that it has that caused it to be placed within each level of classification? What do the different names mean or refer to?
    2. Write a short description of it based upon its classification.
    3. How unique is it? (How many species are in its class, order, family, and genus?)
  3. Using a list of Latin and Greek root words, suffixes, and prefixes, develop a scientific name for:
    1. yourself.
    2. a classmate.
    3. an actor or musician.
    4. a famous athlete.
  4. Is the Linnean system a good tool for classification that should remain in place, or should it be discarded in favor of a different system? If you were charged with improving the current system, or even developing a new one, what would you do?

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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.