It’s Classified


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.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


  • 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.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Technology


  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Four
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge


Terms and Concepts

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


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


  • 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.
  • 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, such as:
  • Use this lesson after teaching an introductory lesson in classification.


"It's Classified" Rubric

Lesson Steps

  1. Introduce the students to the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.  The program is described at
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. With the students, discuss various flora and fauna that can be found at our national parks (such as the bat, coyote, opossum, glacier lilies, and purple asters) and where they may be found.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.  Address and highlight any unfamiliar or new vocabulary and record it on chart paper.
  7. 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.  Review the meaning of the word "taxonomy" with the students to help them "play the part."
  8. Have the students discuss the results from the worksheets with each other and then decide which project to complete on classification and kingdoms.  Review the completed worksheets with the students, either on the overhead or on chart paper, for later reference.
  9. Have the students work independently on their selected projects from the Project Guide and present the finished projects to the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

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


  • 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.

Common Core Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

National Standards

Discipline: Science
Domain: 5-8 Content Standards
Cluster: History and Nature of Science
Grade(s): Grades 5–8

  • Science as a human endeavor
  • Nature of science
  • History of science