Classification 1: Classification Scheme

Students use the Internet to learn about a variety of organisms with the intention of developing their own classification schemes.  They can hone their observation skills as they note similarities and differences between/among different organisms. There is a companion lesson called Classification 2: A Touch of Class that can be accessed at this site.  In this lesson, students practice  sorting organisms into different groups using different structures and features.  Initially, students work in groups to sort  buttons, tools, and keys  into groups according to physical structure and features. The site provides a link to the Utah Education Network site to access Animal Movement  cards that will be used in a grouping activity.  Questions are provided to motivate, guide, and assess students.        

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0507.5.1
Investigate physical characteristics associated with different groups of animals.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 
  • To show students that many kinds of living things can be sorted into groups in many ways using various features to decide which things belong to which group and that classification schemes will vary with purpose.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Follow this lesson with the second lesson in the series on classification: Classification 2: A Touch of Class.
  • For an additional Living Environment lesson for grades 3-5, go to Pond 1: Pond Life.
  • The online unit of study called Living Things on the Franklin Institute website has a section called Families that can further your students' understanding about classification.
  • The classification of animals into groups helps broaden students' understanding about the diversity of life. To help emphasize the differences and similarities between species, you can refer your students to the Classifying Critters page of The Cool Science for Curious Kids website. In this activity, students are given a chance to test their knowledge about different species.

Helpful Hints


  • Box of assorted buttons
  • Box of assorted tools
  • Box of assorted keys