Classy Parasites

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In this activity (on pages 2-8), learners experience how scientists use classification in their study of animals. They sort pictures of parasites according to characteristics such as shape, size, wings, legs, body sections, cells, site on host organism, and food source. The "What We Know" section introduces divisions in the animal kingdom, including two broad groups of parasites—endoparasites that live inside a host organism, and ectoparasites that live on the exterior of or outside a host organism. Excerpts from the video and biography of parasitologist Judy Sakanari are available online, and the full version of the video can be purchased in the commercial Wonderwise Parasite Sleuth Kit.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • The Scientific Worldview
    • Science as a Career


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group
    • Identifies role models or mentors in STEM fields from this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum, 2001

Funding Sources:

  • NSF Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute