Monday, March 5, 2012

What is a Dichotomous Key?

Today, we started working on classifying plants and animals.  I found a great activity on the Science Spot.  It's called "Silly Science"and the kiddos get a bag full of junk to classify.  They have to find out the "silly scientific" name of each object.  For example, a white marble is really called a "Whatnot."  Who would have guessed that?   Ha! 

 Items Needed:
sharpened pencil, unsharpened pencil, 1 dice, large paper clip,
small paper clip, white chalk, colored marble, white (I used clear) marble,
piece of wood (over 10 cm long), eraser

 This was a great way to introduce classification.  My kids said the dichotomous key was sort of like the Choose Your Own Adventure books we have gotten from DonorsChoose!  I thought that was a great connection!  This activity was also a great team builder, as they had to work together and figure out in their teams if an eraser is or is not a writing instrument.  We had a lot of really good conversations about little difference in things.

This was also a great review about measurement and how to read centimeters on a ruler with both inches and centimeters.  We also discussed why our rulers are marked as millimeters and how many millimeters it takes to make 1 centimeter. 

You can find the work sheet, instructions, and more dichotomous key ideas on Science Spot


  1. YAY! I'm proud to be your first follower!

    Welcome to BloggyLand!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade