Teachers, write the following information on the board. Ask student to identify if the listed pairs of living things would belong to the same species.
- Monarch Butterfly and Blue Butterfly
- Sea turtles and Snapping turtles
- Woman and Man
- Blue Jay and Robin
Review the list with the students, explaining why or why not each pair is or is not a species. Next, ask students to take out different types of writing utensils, such as markers, pens, pencils and crayons. Ask students to separate the groups into very specific categories as if they were designating species. Explain that each type of writing utensil may belong to the same category "writing utensils", however, they belong to separate categories of "pens, pencils, markers and crayons". Each category would then be separated by certain factors. For example, in the category of "markers"; highlighters, sharpies, washables etc would each belong to their own separate group of "species", but would not be in separate species based upon color.
The above activities should help your students understand that the species classification is a very specific one (which is also a great way to remember that "species" is the most specific category.) Following the activities, ask students to think of examples of species that differ from each other in minute ways, such as humans being of different races.
*NOTE- this is the last article in a two part series, please see the beginning of the Scientific Classification series.