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Dichotomous Classification Keys: Science Students Love Them!

Dichotomous classification keys are often used in field guides to help the user quickly and easily identify trees, flowers, insects, frogs, etc.  They are also a very effective teaching tool in our science classrooms.  They can be used to teach scientific terms and characteristics of any type of living organism.  But I think one of the most important uses in our classroom is the fact that they reinforce observation skills, and strengthen problem solving and critical thinking in our students.

I receive many requests for classification keys on different topics.  Over the years, I have developed quite a few activities that use the dichotomous classification key.  

My newest is called "Dichotomous Key to the Genus Smiley."  In this simple key, students first learn how to use a dichotomous key.  But the best part of this activity is that students are also required to develop their own dichotomous key to key out 6 different insects.  This requires a higher level of thinking and problem solving that provides excellent practice of these skills for our students.
Dichotomous Key to the Genus "Smiley"
Additional products that use the dichotomous classification key are:

Dichotomous Key to a CRAZY Animal Kindgom

Freebie!  This is one of my favorites: Dichotomous Key to Holiday Giving and Community Service

Let's Build a Cladogram!

Let's Learn to Use and Build a Dichotomous Key!

Lab: Use of Dichotomous Key in Classification

Click here to view all of my classification/taxonomy products.