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Experiment 1: Classification of Common Objects
Did you find that the items grouped together as you worked down the flow chart had similar characteristics in terms of their appearance? What about function?
Many of the grouped items had similar characteristics as well as function until you went further down the list of questions. For example, a pen and a pencil are both used for writing but when asked if the items contained permanent ink, you were then able to separate the two.
Do you feel that the questions asked were appropriate? What questions would you have asked? What objects would be grouped together with your system?
Some of the questions were fine but the first question was a bit difficult. I would not consider a hex nut cylindrical or round. I also was confused because a marble is not cylindrical or round but is spherical. In addition, some styles of pencils have many sides like a hex nut and a pen comes in many shapes and sizes as well. A hex nut does have a hole in the center but that question was asked later on. The first questions could have been written as: Are any of the objects spherical, cylindrical or round. A little less confusing and you can easily place most of these items quickly.
Pick 10 household items (e.g. spoon, book, paper clip, etc.) and design a taxonomic classification system to categorize them, similar to the one in Figure 2.
Can you devise a different classification system for the objects used in this experiment that would distinguish each in as many, or fewer steps?
Experiment 2: Classification of Organisms
Table 2: Key Characteristics of Some Organisms
OrganismKingdomDefined NucleusMobileCell WallPhotosynthesisUnicellular
Did this series of questions correctly organize each organism? Why or why not?
What additional questions would you ask to further categorize the items within the kingdoms (hint: think about other organisms in the kingdom and what makes them different than the examples used here)?
Do you feel that the questions asked were appropriate? What questions would you have asked?