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Grades 5 - 9


Music can be classified, as well as candy. Classification is an integral part of each student's world. This fun lesson demonstrates not only that fact, but also how classification is important in science. Students will classify, weight and organize items during this lesson. This lesson works great as or with an introduction of the Periodic Table of Elements.
ITV Series
"3-2-1 Contact #101: Classification"
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:

for each student group of 4:

for each student:

for class use:

Pre-Viewing Activities
When students enter the classroom, the teacher will have music playing. After students take their seats, the teacher will ask,
"What type of music was I playing?"
(It makes the lesson more interesting if the music chosen could fit one or more categories or classifications - like pop and rock). Write student responses on the board. Repeat this activity a couple of times, so that students have a chance to hear differing opinions on each music selection classification
Focus Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, introduce the video with the following instruction,
"Let's see how this type of activity is related to science. When you watch this tape, listen for the key words and ideas about classification."

Viewing Activities
BEGIN the Tape at the end of the tape when the horse is running in a field and "The Order of Things" is printed on the screen and the narrator says, "Scientists group living things according to their common features."

PAUSE the Tape immediately when the narrator says, "Grouping things in this way is called classification."to discuss the explanation and keys words for classification given in the tape - common features, how they are alike; and to check for understanding of classification with the music worksheet. Discuss how names were classified. What do they have in common? How are they alike? Continue the discussion by expanding to other ways classification occurs in the students' lives; for example, how are books classified in a library? How are items classified in a grocery store? Ask students for examples of classification.

Say to students, "This worksheet has a variety of different names that I would like for you to organize or classify ". Pass out worksheet and let students work together in pairs or small groups to complete the worksheet.

To give students a specific responsibility for viewing, ask students to gather information that could be used for classification in solving the problem with these jet airplanes' broken windshields.

REWIND Tape to the beginning of the tape when two jet airplanes are flying and the narrator says, "On Dec. 13, 1984 two F -18's were flying low on an exercise."

PAUSE Tape when the narrator says, "Could it possibly have been a bird?" to discuss student's responses of information gathered.

To give students a specific responsibility for viewing, ask students to predict how the scientist in this tape will use the information gathered (feathers) and classification to solve the mystery of the broken windshield.

RESUME Tape when narrator says, "A detective was called in on the case. A detective who uses classification to solve mysteries."

STOP Tape when narrator says, "So, it was a bird like this that hit the airplane " to discuss and validate predictions; and to check for understanding of classification and how common features are used in the process.
Post-Viewing Activities
To continue the study of classification, the teacher says, "Just as the scientist had to be a detective and use classification to solve the mystery of the broken windshields, you are going to be a scientist and use your skills to classify some items. Your group will be given about twenty items. Your group needs to classify the items into groups and then organize them by weight, from lightest to heaviest. Using the alphabet, create a symbol for each item. For example, a piece of bubble gum might be Bb. Use your data to complete the chart, as a "Periodic Chart of Candy", modeled after the Periodic Table of Elements. (This lesson works well for an introduction of the Periodic Chart of Elements).

Give each student group a chart and the candy items for the classification and organization. Have scales set up for students to weigh items. Items should be classified into groups or "families" and entered on the chart in vertical columns. Have students classify each group of candy to contain similar properties.
Action Plan
During the tape used in this lesson, students saw how a scientist, an ornithologist, from the Smithsonian Institute used classification. Have students write to the Smithsonian for additional information about what is classified and maintained at the Institute.

Have students write letters to scientists for information on how they use classification in their work; contact a forensics scientist for a classroom visit to discuss how classification is used in solving crimes.
Using a video camera, have students create a classification game, modeled after the "Most in Common Game" as shown in the 3-2-1 Classroom Contact Classification Program #101 - Classification. Show the game from the 3-2-1 Contact tape and have students create their own questions for the game.

Have students create a program for a classification computer game similar to the one on 3-2-1 Classroom Contact Program #101-Classification.

History/Language Arts
Give students lists of famous names, events, vocabulary and so forth, from each discipline to classify.

Master Teacher: Beth Bouchard

Click here to view the worksheet associated with this lesson.

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