Creepy Critters (Classifying Organisms)

This hands-on activity was developed by the National Association of Biology Teachers to specifically target animal classification at the middle school level. It is one of many resources on the Microbe World website and is a great introduction to classification. This activity can easily be completed in one class period and requires little set-up on the part of the teacher. The students are to assume the role of a scientist in 2525 who has been sent illustrations of the organisms discovered on a new planet. The studentu2019s role is to study the illustrations and come up with a possible classification scheme based on the information provided about each organism. There are creature cards available on-line that can be printed off and laminated. This activity would be a wonderful precursor to the introduction of the dichotomous key.

Standards & Objectives

Essential and guiding questions: 


  • Why do we classify things?
  • Is your way the only way possible to organize the critter cards?
  • Do you happen to know the biological classification scheme used by scientists who study living things?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints

You’ll Need:

  • scissors
  • critter cards (click & print pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • paper and pencil or pen