Students participate in a Learning Garden scavenger hunt to collect a variety of specimens, sort the living from nonliving, then classify the organisms in creatives ways. This activity is designed to introduce students to the shared features of living organisms, systematics, and biodiversity.
– Distinguish between living and nonliving specimens by considering features that define life
– Classify and organize specimens based upon observable traits
– Understand the importance of classifying objects in their everyday lives
– Complete one of the extension activities, see below
Materials and Preparation Procedures
Collection jars, paper bags, bucket
Students will be encouraged to be hands on with the Learning Garden through a unique and adaptable scavenger hunt focused on classifying objects they find. The scavenger hunt will provide an opportunity for students to become more familiar with the Learning Garden which will support future learning activities.
We classify things into groups and categories to help us stay organized, keep track of things and be able to compare different things. For example, similar foods are grouped together on supermarket shelves to make it easier for customers to find them. Different brands of peanut butter sit on the same shelf so you can compare one to another and decide which you prefer.
Teaching Note: the list of features on the handout can be modified to meet the needs of your classroom. At the end of the Garden Lesson you may choose to complete an extension lesson, see ideas below.
Introduction (10 minutes)
As a group, ask students to identify six things in your classroom. Once those items have been identified ask students to create a simple classification for these items. This could be by color, size, and so on.
Review with the students the importance of observations and why classifying objects is important to our everyday lives. Let the students know that today they will be going to
the Learning Garden to complete a classification scavenger hunt.
Remind students to avoid collecting higher level organisms. As the teacher, be aware of poisonous plants and other hazards on your site and review those concerns with your student. Warn students against collecting venomous arthropods or touching sharp objects.
Review any additional rules to the Learning Garden. Query students about known bee/wasp sting allergies before going into the field.
Garden Lesson (30 minutes)
Students will complete the Learning Garden scavenger hunt in either small groups or individually, as the teacher decide what works best for your classroom and your scavenger hunt. Let the students know that today they will be completing a scavenger hunt to collect various living and non-living specimens. Review with the students that today they will be implementing an effective way to make observations, through classifying the various objects they find.
Pass out the Student Handout and ask the students to spend 15 minutes collecting both living and non-living specimens. Once students are finished, either return to the classroom or stay in the Learning Garden with your students. Ask the students to complete the classroom activity:
Separate the collected items into living and non-living Look for similarities and difference amongst your living items With 10 of the living items, create at least three additional classifications.
Conclusion (10 minutes)
After the students have finished classifying their objects ask students to prepare to discuss the discussion questions at the bottom of their student handout.
– How did you distinguish between living and non-living objects?
– What were your living classifications?
– What did you learn about the objects you classified together?– What additional questions do you now have after classifying certain objects together?
Extension Lesson Ideas:
– Create a dichotomous key
– Dive deeper into scientific classification
– Create a classification for edible items
– Classify Learning Garden plants by recipe type
English Language Arts
– Use the objects in a writing activity
– Use the objects as vocabulary builders
– Use geometric shapes, their measures, and their properties to classify objects
– Calculate how many classifications are possible for the entire class
– Use the objects in a still life drawing
– Use one object or one classification as inspiration for a project
– Modify as needed and use an of the above extension lesson ideas
After School Club
– Use any of the above ideas