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K5 Science Endorsement GPS Lesson Plan

Lesson Title
Grade Level

What am I? Classifying Living Things

Timber Ridge
What am I? Classifying Living Things
5th Grade
How can I classify animals? (vertebrate/invertebrate;
mammal, bird, fish, amphibian, arthropod, reptile; by
size, by habitat; etc.)
What makes certain groups of animals distinct? (having
a backbone or not; physical characteristics such as
wings or fins; the way they breathe; if they lay eggs or
birth their young; etc.)
S5L1. Students will classify organisms into groups
and relate how they determined the groups with
how and why scientists use classification.
a. Demonstrate how animals are sorted into groups
(vertebrate and invertebrate) and how vertebrates are
sorted into groups (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and

Safety Considerations Teacher may review all safety requirements

already in place in the science classroom.

The Learning Plan: Students will be able to classify animals into vertebrates and
invertebrates according to their physical characteristics.
1. Students will be able to classify animals into mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians, and fish according to their physical characteristics and behaviors.
2. Students will be able to conduct short research projects that build knowledge
about a topic and share their results.
Students will be able to use text features to locate information relevant to a given
topic efficiently.
Title of the Lesson:


Introduce the lesson by telling the students that you will be practicing
the classification of animals.
Ask, "What does it mean to classify?"
Tell students that classification means to sort things into groups to
show how they are alike.
Explain that scientists classify animals into different categories.
Split the class into small groups of 3 to 4 students.
Provide each group a copy of the Animal Classification Sort ( I added
many more cards) and have each set cut out (and laminated) prior to

passing out to class).

7. Instruct students to classify the picture cards in whatever way they
8. Provide them enough time to think about their groups and decide
which animals belong together.
9. Allow them the freedom to sort by their own means. Some possibilities
may be where the animal lives, wings or no wings, color, size, etc.
10. After each group has come to a conclusion, invite groups to share their
classifications with the rest of the class.
11. Have

students keep track of their reasons for classifying animals the

way they did. In their interactive science notebooks.
1. To help students understand how scientists classify animals, you will be using the
Brain Pop Jr. Video "Classifying Animals."
2. Play the video for the first two minutes so that it can discuss vertebrates and
invertebrates, then pause the video.
3. Ask the students to recall the vocabulary they just learned. Ask, "What is a
vertebrate?" (any animal that has a backbone).
i. Make a list on the board of animals that have backbones (i.e. cheetahs,
catfish, tree frogs, humans, etc.).
4. After students can generate multiple examples of vertebrates, ask, "What is an
invertebrate?" (animals without backbones).
i. Make a list on the board of animals that have no backbone (i.e.
earthworms, lobsters, butterflies, etc.).
5. Split the class back up into the groups from the card sort activity and have them sort
their cards into vertebrates and invertebrates (The card sort only has 3 invertebratesa butterfly, a spider, and a grasshopper. The rest of the animals are vertebrates).
6. The Brain Pop video next discusses mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
7. Have children copy these terms into a notebook or on a sheet of paper.
8. Instruct them to take notes on each of these animals, then continue playing the
Brain Pop video.
9. After the video finishes, review the material by taking the "hard quiz" on the Brain
Pop website.
10. Revisit the card sort. Tell the students that they will next be sorting the animals
into the categories from their notes (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles).
11. Guide them by choosing one card and asking them to justify which category the
animal belongs in.
i. For example, if you choose the card with the clown fish, it will belong in
the fish category because it lives in the water and has fins and scales.
ii. Next, choose the butterfly card. Ask, where does this card belong?
1. Allow students to generate their own answers. Go through each
category one by one. (Does it have hair? Does it live in the water?
Does it have a beak? and so on).
2. Then, ask the students if the butterfly is a vertebrate or an
invertebrate. (It is an invertebrate).
3. Explain that the butterfly does not belong in any of the categories
from the video, but it belongs in its own category: arthropods.

12. Share that arthropods are invertebrates that have jointed legs, a body divided into
sections, and a hard outside skeleton.
13. Guide students in generating a list of arthropods (examples are crabs, shrimp,
insects, and spiders).
14. Now that the students are familiar with six categories of animals (mammals, fish,
birds, amphibians, reptiles, and arthropods), instruct them to sort the cards one last
time into the categories.
1. After groups have sorted their cards into the six categories (mammals, fish, birds,
amphibians, reptiles, and arthropods), come back together as a whole group to share
the correct answers with everyone.

Mammals- bear, rabbit, bat, cheetah;

Fish: clown fish, shark, trigger fish;
Birds- parrot finch, spoonbill;
Amphibians- newt, frog;
Reptiles- snake, iguana, alligator;
Arthropods- butterfly, grasshopper, spider

2. Next, you will assign students to research in depth one category of animals. One way
to assign groups is to pass out an animal card from the sort to each student, and they
will be in charge of researching the classification of animal on their card (if a student
gets the shark card, their category will be fish).
3. Display a blank copy of the Animal Classification Research poster and explain the
expectations from the Rubric for Animal Classification Research.



Next, students will research one topic using trade books from Learning
Commons and online resources. Some examples are from the Science of Living
Things collection by Bobbie Kalman (see Additional Resources for a list). Make
sure you have an adequate variety of trade books or text books for students to
collect their information from.
Walk students through gaining information using text features such as: diagrams
(important for showing the parts of an animal), photographs (for real life
examples of animals), and captions (explaining details such as habits and physical
Provide students with adequate time to develop their poster which will define
characteristics and behaviors of their animal classification along with several
examples and where they might live.
After they have finished, allow children to share their learning with the class.

Formative Assessment
In the Engage stage of the lesson plan, students will sort animal classification cards into
their own categories.
Some examples of how students may possibly sort is by color, number of legs, habitat,
size, etc.
Students are to justify their reasons for sorting animals in their way.
If students do not understand the concept of classification, remediate by explaining that to
classify means to sort objects into groups that have something in common and show them
an example with classroom supplies (i.e. markers, pencils, and pens are all used for
writing; post-its, notebook paper, and construction paper are all used to write on).

Feedback to Students
After showing the Brain Pop Jr. video in the explore stage, students will take the Brain
Pop Jr. hard quiz orally.
If students disagree on the answers or have a hard time answering them, discuss why they
chose the incorrect answer and help them understand why the correct answer is correct.

Summative Assessment
Students will express their learning by creating a Animal Classification Research poster
on one of the main classifications of animals.
Use the Rubric for Animal Classification Research to score.


Provide students with special needs a copy of the card sort forms with the name of the
animal on the back.
Provide students with special needs a written copy of the brain pop quiz.
Provide students with special needs an outline to follow to research their classification of
Allow students to interact with this online game "Classify This" to classify bugs. Also,
Classify-It app on the iPads

Let children create their own classification cards using photographs from magazines or
the internet.

Documentation of Resources
Based on Unit from