Dichotomous Key

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In this classification activity, learners will learn one way of organizing plants and animals. The learners will "classify" themselves by means of a dichotomous key, a tool used to classify plants and animals through a series of questions regarding their characteristics. This activity is particularly appropriate for a beginning-of-the-year ice breaker.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Game


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Chalk/white board with chalk/marker


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Classification

Informal Categories

  • Games


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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