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It's Classified

Grades 4 through 6
Language, Technology, Science, and Math

Lesson Plan


The teacher will introduce and discuss the system of classifying living things.  Students will then research various flora and fauna found at our national sites and the student will classify them as a "taxonomist" using the seven steps of the classification system.  Students will show their findings and results through a project of their choice.


The students will identify and classify living things.  Students will understand the different properties of various types of flora and fauna.  Students will create a product to demonstrate knowledge of the classification system and kingdoms of living things.


  • Introduce the students to the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.  The program is described at  Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.  With the students, examine each of the five 2011 quarter designs.  Locate each of the 2011 sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  • Ask the students what they know about national parks such as Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreational Area.  Ask them to identify where these are sites located.
  • With the students, discuss various flora and fauna that can be found at our national parks (such as the bat, coyote, opossum, glacier lilies, purple asters) and where they may be found.
  • Tell the students they will be researching to classify various flora and fauna found in the national parks.  Complete the" Properties are Shaping Up!" page with the students.  Remind the students that when they classify an object, they are comparing and contrasting the properties of the object.  Discuss how different items have properties specific to their group.
  • Discuss the "It's Classified!" worksheet with the students.  Using chart paper, review the seven levels of the classification system, the six kingdoms of living things, and examples of each.  Discuss mnemonic devices and how they can be a helpful learning tool.  (Kangaroos Playing Cards On Fat Green Snakes).  Have the students identify classifications for plants and animals from your region.
  • Using available text and Internet resources, allow the students time to research various flora and fauna found at the national parks.  Have the students record their findings on the "Trying Taxonomy" worksheet.
  • Have the students discuss the results from the worksheets with each other and then decide which project to complete on classification and kingdoms.  Have the students work independently on their selected projects from the Project Guide and present the finished projects to the class.


  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheets and projects to see whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the final product.

Differentiated Learning

  • Allow students to work in pairs or small groups.
  • Allow students to use a scribe to complete their worksheets. 

Connection to

Print Me

Worksheets associated with this lesson plan



You will identify and classify living things.  You will take on the role of a taxonomist to research and classify flora and fauna found in our national parks and complete a project.

Step-By-Step Directions

  1. After your teacher introduces your class to national sites and the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, research national sites like Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  Use the links on to learn more about the national parks.  Think about the following questions as you research:

    • Where are these sites located?
    • What do you think you would see at these sites?
    • You may notice a variety of flora and fauna like the bat, coyote, opossum, glacier lilies, and purple asters.  Think about what you know about the classification system used to classify living things.  Where might these fit into the chart?
  2. Using resources available to you, research different types of flora and fauna in the national parks and use the information from the "It's Classified!" page to guide you to the properties they have that make them special.
  3. Record your findings on the "Trying Taxonomy" worksheet.
  4. Talk about your findings with others in your class.
  5. Choose one of the projects listed in the Project Guide to demonstrate your understanding of the classification system and kingdoms, using examples that can be found in our national sites.  For each one, use your completed worksheets as a guide.  Be sure to include color diagrams and explanations, locations, and interesting facts for each.
  6. Present your finished project to the class.



National Council of Teachers of English ( and International Reading Association (

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems  They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.


  • International Society for Technology in Education (
  • Research and Informational Fluency:  Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.


  • Understanding of scientific concepts.
  • Understanding of classification.
  • An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
  • Understanding of the nature of science.
  • Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
  • The dispositions to use the skills, abilities, and attitudes associated with science.


  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (
  • Describing shapes and analyzing their properties.

Side Box


Four 45- to 60-minute sessions

Materials List

  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "Properties Are Shaping Up" worksheet
  • 1 photocopy of the following worksheets:

    • "Properties Are Shaping Up" answer sheet
    • "It's Classified!" worksheet
    • "Trying Taxonomy" worksheet
  • Images of the five 2011 quarters
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Copies of texts that give information about classification and kingdoms of various plants and animals, such as:

    • Centipedes, Millipedes, Scorpions & Spiders by Daniel Gilpin (animal kingdom classification)
    • Molds, Mushrooms & Other Fungi by Steve Parker (kingdom classifications)
    • Protozoans, Algae & Other Protists by Steve Parker (kingdom classifications)
    • Redwoods, Hemlocks & Other Cone-Bearing Plants by Steve Parker (kingdom classifications)
    • Sunflowers, Magnolia Trees & Other Flowering Plants by Steve Parker (kingdom classifications)
  • Chart paper
  • Writing and drawing materials


  • Obverse
  • Reverse
  • Flora
  • Fauna
  • Classification
  • Properties
  • Polygon
  • Rectangle
  • Rhombus
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species
  • Archaebacteria
  • Eubacteria
  • Protists
  • Fungi
  • Mnemonic device
  • Taxonomy

Helpful Hints

  • Have large shapes available to use as manipulatives for the "Properties are Shaping Up" worksheet.  Make sure to model how to complete the classification charts.
  • Provide a variety of plant and animal examples of the classification system and kingdoms, either on the overhead or on chart paper, for later reference.
  • Review the completed worksheets with the students, either on the overhead or on chart paper, for later reference.
  • Review the meaning of the word "taxonomy" with the students to help them "play the part."
  • Address and highlight any unfamiliar or new vocabulary and record it on chart paper.
  • Make copies of necessary materials (such as worksheets).
  • Bookmark assorted Web sites with photos of flora and fauna and guide the students to where you want them to research.
  • Use this lesson after teaching an introductory lesson in classification.

Student Side Box

What You Need

  • "Print Me" worksheets
  • Internet access

Related Materials

  • Properties Are Shaping Up (worksheet)
  • It's Classified! (worksheet)
  • Trying Taxonomy (worksheet)
  • It's Classified!  Project Guide

Related Links

The Department of the Treasury Seal