HOW LIVING THINGS INTERACT WITH THEIR ENVIRONMENT
 Classification Learn all about classifying living things. What is Classification? Classification is a tool for understanding relationships of living things. With classification, you group similar things together. Why is Classification Important? Scientists use classification systems to help them make sense of the world around them. They use classification to organize information and objects. The world would be a REALLY crazy place if we didn't have a way of organizing things. Imagine trying to look for a book in the library. Here is a scenario: Student: "May I have a book on llamas, please." Media Specialist: "Of course, just go over there." Student: "Where?" Media Specialist: "To those shelves silly." Student: "There are a hundred shelves, which one?" Media Specialist: "I am not sure. But I know we have one here somewhere." It would be chaos! Wouldn't it. When things are sorted into groups it makes them easier to understand and it makes it easier to see the relationships between them. Some Examples Examples of classification systems you use everyday include: breakfast foods, lunch foods and dinner foods food pyramid your closet (shoes in one place, shirts in another) your likes and dislikes Can you think of any? How to Classify Classification is actually pretty simple. Here is the basic process of classification: Step 1: Choose something to classify. Step 2: Determine the groups into which you will classify your items. It would be helpful to spend some time looking over what you are grouping to make these determinations. Step 3: Place each item into a group based on how the item's characteristics match the characteristics of the group. The Linnaeus Classification System In the mid 1700's a Swedish scientist by the name of Carolus Linnaeus created a naming system called Binomial Nomenclature, in which each organism was given a two part name. Part One: The first part of an organism's name is called its GENUS. The genus is a classification grouping that contains similar, closely related organisms. For example pumas and housecats are both classified in the genus felis. These organisms share the similar characteristic of sharp, retractable claws and behavior of hunting. Part Two: The second part of an organism's name is called its SPECIES. The species is a group that can mate and produce fertile offspring. The species name sets one genus apart from another. It is a further breaking down (subgroup) of the genus. The species name often comes from a distinguishing feature of the or where it lives. For example a housecat is a Felis domesticus. Levels of Classification Today we use a classification system based on seven layers of organization. These include from largest to smallest (with human classification in parentheses: Kingdom (Animalia) Phylum (Chordata) Class (Mammalia) Order (Primates) Family (Hominidae) Genus (Homo) Species (Sapiens)
 Sunshine State Standards 6-8 Science/How Living Things Interact with their Environment Standard 1: The student understands the competitive, interdependent, cyclic nature of living things in the environment. (SC.G.1.3) Objective 3: Understands that the classification of living things is based on a given set of criteria and is a tool for understanding biodiversity and interrelationships.
 Amusement Park Activity Classification Fun: You can classify so many different things at an amusement park. Just remember to sort like things together. Here is what to do: Choose something to classify (e.g. rides). Determine at least three groups you can place them in (e.g. kiddie, slow, scary). Place each item (in this case, rides) into a group based on how the items features match the characteristics of the group. Brainstorming Fun: Fun things in amusement parks to classify rides shows food tourists animals shopping street performers Vocabulary Classification - To group items based on similar characteristics. Binomial Nomenclature - A classification system in which organisms are given a two part name. Genus - Part one of the two part name of the Binomial Nomenclature system. Species - Part two of the two part name of the Binomial Nomenclature system. Links Living Things An excellent site from the Franklin Institute on living things from individuals to the circle of life. Animal Classification This is a lesson plan on classification for teachers. Looking for Biodiversity Another Discover Channel lesson plan for teachers on plant biodiversity.