From Seed to Seed:
Activity 34: Taxonomist-for-a-Day
Associated Lesson Topics:
Planting the Seed...
Do all plants look the same? Can you name some characteristics that we could use to tell plants apart? What does it mean to classify something? If you had to classify plants, which characteristics would you use?
Taxonomists are people who specialize in the classification of things. For example, a plant taxonomist is responsible for classifying plants into Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. (An easy way to remember the order of this classification system is King Phillip Came Over From Germany Saturday!) Plant classification is often based primarily on plant reproductive structures, pollen and seed shapes, vein patterns, and epidermal hairs. In this activity, students will examine photographs of plants and classify them according to different plant characteristics.
Note: This same activity can be carried out in the classroom or greenhouse using several different varieties of potted flowering plants, mosses from outside, and duckweed from your local pet (fish) shop. The key is for students to be able to physically move the plants into their classification groups.
Harvesting the Crop...Students place the plant cards along an evolutionary time line indicating the age of the species from oldest to youngest. Allow them to decide which plant characteristics are more primitive or advanced than others. Which plants seem simpler? More complex? On what characteristics did you base your answer? When this classification is complete, students will again explain the rationale behind their time line to the class. This activity can easily lead into a discussion or a lesson on the evolution of plants.
Please click the BACK button on your browser to return to the course.
Made possible by a grant from Oracle Corp.
Copyright 2001, National Gardening
For questions regarding this web site, contact Webmaster