Classification — practice thinking like a scientist!

Classification: 

In today’s lessons our students discussed different types of classification.  Classification is an important tool in science and it helps us understand certain topics by studying their relationships.  We explored why and how scientists use classification, as well as how classification is used in everyday life…for example, with Halloween candy!  We discussed the many different ways to classify a set of objects; the classification scheme we choose depends on what we are interested in studying.

For today’s activity, the students were given sets of objects to classify.  The objects came in various shapes, sizes, materials, colors, and functions.  We used our knowledge of dichotomous, categorical and continuous forms of classification and were able to apply these forms effectively to classify these objects using several different schemes, sometimes using a hierarchy of with different classification criteria.  Students came up with a variety of creative schemes!

We were so interested in hearing about your classification ideas that we forgot to take pictures of you — sorry!  Remind us at our next visit, okay?  Thanks!

Author

Dr. Catherine Sukow

Dr. Sukow's interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco's Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master's research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph. D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens' schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.

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