Students will use a simple dichotomous key to identify various species of fish.
Background information about biological classification can be found in the Fact Sheet: Classification.
This lesson is an introduction on using a dichotomous key and assumes students have some basic knowledge of features of fish.
The Lesson: Lolly bags provides a broad overview on what a dichotomous key is and may precede this lesson.
Students will also require a copy of Student Resource Sheets: Fish Dichotomous Key (either individual or in pairs) and Creature Feature (in pairs or small groups). Each student will also require a copy of Student Worksheet: What’s this fish? for your chosen area. You may also like to provide students with a copy of the Poster: Bony Fish – external anatomy.
The Lesson: Fishy Features is an extension of this lesson, where students will construct their own dichotomous key for a given number of species.
Western Australian curriculum
|Science inquiry skills
|Processing and analysing data and information
- Recall any prior learning about dichotomous keys – what is their purpose, how do you use them and what types of questions work in a dichotomous key?
- Provide students with:
Using the information provided on the Student Resource Sheets: Creature Feature, students will use the dichotomous key to identify the species they have on their worksheets.
- Allow students time to complete the activity and then engage them in a discussion about the species they identified and any discrepancies between student identification.