Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Welcome to My Museum (Part 1/3) - Section 2: Check for Understanding/Hook


I teach this lesson the first week of school. Since I am the only high school science teacher in my district, I have already had my biology students in earth science the previous year.  At the beginning of the year, we spend a short period of time (two days) reviewing laboratory safety procedures and basic laboratory equipment. I can do this because students have already mastered this content in earth science.

From my experience, high school students typically fall into one of two camps of thinking when it comes to classifying living things. As young children, they naturally embrace the thinking of Aristotle. During their upper elementary and middle school years, their line of thinking falls more in step with the ideas of Linneaus because they have already had experience with plants and animals due to their own observations outside of the classroom and the content they have learned in their previous science classes.  By starting with models of classification that students already know, I can build on those foundations and refine their thinking while I introduce modern taxonomic theory.

The following video explain why I start with the ideas of Aristotle and Linnaeus.  

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Why Teach Taxonomy Like This?
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Welcome to My Museum (Part 1/3)

Unit 1: Phylogeny and Taxonomy
Lesson 1 of 5

Objective: Students will compare and contrast the thinking of Aristotle and Linnaeus in classifying organisms.

Big Idea: Today students will travel back in time to 1775 to become students of Carl Linneaus. There, he will assign them the task to remodel the museum created by his predecessor in 1700.

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natural history
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