Life Cycle - Organisms (KA)
Lab 

   
OBJECTIVES:
  • Exploring characteristics of objects.
  • Classifying and sorting large organisms.
VOCABULARY:
  • classify
  • organism
  • sort
MATERIALS:

Students sort models of animals.


BACKGROUND:

Students are learning to distinguish and describe objects, in order to group them into larger groups. It is easy for students to group inanimate objects because they group shape, color, or size. Real organisms are not perfect and therefore, it is more difficult to recognize similar characteristics within groups.

Living organisms have to consider more a range of characteristics. For example, a cat could mean a house cat, a lion, a tiger, or a bobcat. Each have a cat-like look but they are very different animals. Almost all of the features have to be described. A nose, could be large, small, flat, or pointed. The nose could have large nostrils or small nostrils.

Young children need guidance is defining the ranges and descriptions of each of these characteristics. It is also important to emphasize is that scientists group organisms into assemblages with similar characteristics. This practice makes it easy to distinguish and compare various groups of similar organisms.

PROCEDURE:
  1. Prior to lab you may want to make playdough to be used during class. The recipe is as follows:

250 ml flour 
125 ml salt
5 ml cream of tartar 
250 ml water
about 1/2 ml food coloring about 1/2 ml oil

Cook, while stirring, over medium heat until the gloppy mess looks like playdough. Knead briefly after the mixture has cooled a little. You will need to multiply this recipe by 6 to get enough for a class of 30 students, but it should be made in two batches. Large amounts of dough are difficult to stir because the mixture becomes firm. Store the playdough in a plastic bag or a margarine tub.

  1. Give groups of students a Wild Animal Placemat to look at. Discuss each of the organism listed on the placemat. Note that the name of "family" members is given in each box. For instance, as the students the "family" of elephants. The father is a bull, mother is a cow, baby is a calf, and a group is called a herd.

 

animal

male

female

baby

group

rabbit

buck

doe

kitten

warren

fox

dog

vixen

cub or pup

skulk

bear

board

sow

cub

sloth

elephant

bull

cow

calf

herd

monkey

     

troop

lion

lion

lioness

cub

pride

zebra

stallion

mare

colt

herd

ostrich

cock

hen

chick

flock

penguin

cock

hen

chick

colony

sheep

ram

ewe

lamb

flock or herd

wild boar

boar

sow

piglet

herd or drove

whale

bull

cow

calf

herd

kangaroo

boomer

flyer

joey

troop or mob

bison

bull

cow

calf

herd

seal

bull

cow

pup or welp

herd or trip

giraffe

bull

cow

calf

herd

  1. You may also want to have students look at the animal tracks of each animal on the outside margin. Compare the oval shape, round shape, prints with toes, and hoofs.
      
  2. Provide students with bag of plastic model animals that are included in Life Cycle - Organisms (KA). Ask the students to sort their animal models into groups and go over the different animals with them.  You have 5 of each animal, so you can use them for math exercises with the children.  For example, 5 elephants and 5 camels give you 10 animals. The kit will vary in the type of animals, which can be identified by looking under the belly of the model.
      
  3. You may want to give students playdough. Instruct students to flatten the playdough and then make tracks of the different models. See if they can match the tracks to those on the outside margin of the placemat. 
      
  4. Go over the different animals with students, and determine what characteristics helped them determine how they sorted the animals. This may change dependent on the animal models that you are using.

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