This lists the logos of programs or partners of NG Education which have provided or contributed the content on this page. Program BioBlitz

  • 1. Activate prior knowledge.
    Show students the Classifying Information photo gallery, which shows students at a BioBlitz. Ask: What do you think these students are doing? Explain to students that they are classifying information. List the following sports on the board: baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Show students the Sports Cards illustration and prompt them to think about similarities and differences. Ask:

    • How many of these use a ball?
    • How many of these use a net?
    • How many of these are played on a court?
    • How many of these use a hoop?

    Make sure students recognize that identifying similarities and differences is one way to begin classifying information.

    2. Build background.
    Explain to students that they can group many things based on characteristics and that something with unique characteristics can be grouped into its own category. Show students the Insect Cards illustration. Ask: Which of these is not an insect? How do you know? Tell students that scientists collect, study, and observe specimens. They record every detail and then compare their observations to existing records. New species are classified according to their similarities and differences to known species. This is called relatedness. New species are then given a unique scientific name.

    3. Have students practice classifying information.
    Collect a shoe from each person in the class and place the shoes on a table that everyone can see. Ask students to classify the shoes based on shared characteristics, such as type, color, markings, kind of closure, or materials. Ask:

    • How many different ways can you classify the shoes?
    • What characteristic is the most common?
    • What is the least common?


    4. Have students reflect on their experience.
    Ask students to share what they’ve learned about classifying information. Ask: Why do you think scientists use a classification system to better understand life on Earth? Encourage students to answer the question based on their experience with the activity.

    Informal Assessment

    Ask each student to describe, in his or her own words, what it means to classify. Then ask students to provide one example of classifying information from their daily lives.

    Extending the Learning

    Explain that scientists name species based on a unique characteristic, where it was found, or who found it. Have students create scientific names for each unique "species" of shoe.

  • Subjects & Disciplines

    • Biology

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • demonstrate classification skills
    • reflect on their experience and apply that understanding in a new context

    Teaching Approach

    • Learning-for-use

    Teaching Methods

    • Discussions
    • Hands-on learning

    Skills Summary

    This activity targets the following skills:

    • Critical Thinking Skills
      • Applying
      • Understanding

    Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

    National Science Education Standards

  • What You’ll Need

    Materials You Provide

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Optional
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

    Physical Space


  • Background Information

    A BioBlitz is a way for communities to learn about the biological diversity of a geographical area and to better understand how to protect the species found at that location. In order to undertake a BioBlitz, students need to have a specific set of skills. These skills involve observing natural phenomena, identifying different species of organisms, classifying them into categories, and mapping the data for conservation and management in the future. Scientists use a classification system to identify, name, and better understand living things.

    Prior Knowledge

    • None

    Recommended Prior Activities

    • None


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bioblitz Noun

    a field study in which groups of scientists and citizens study and inventory all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area.

    Encyclopedic Entry: bioblitz
    characteristic Noun

    physical, cultural, or psychological feature of an organism, place, or object.

    classify Verb

    to identify or arrange by specific type or characteristic.

    observation Noun

    something that is learned from watching and measuring an object or pattern.

    relatedness Noun

    being connected by similarities.

    scientific name Noun

    the name, usually in Latin, of an organism's genus and species.

    species Noun

    group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other.