Primary from Year 2 to Year 6
For forty years or so, methods for classifying living beings have significantly evolved and continue to challenge our knowledge and confuse our common sense. We have learned that scientists only use the word fish when dangling a rod or going to the supermarket, that crocodiles are more closely related to birds than lizards despite their physical resemblance, and we humans are more closely related to the bolete than the rose... As for those we once called invertebrates, they don’t really exist anymore because we now define an individual based on the attributes it has and not those it does not.
The ‘Putting animals in order’ workshop available from the ‘Museum comes to you’ includes a series of activities that approach different ideas related to the principle of the phylogenetic tree. In the first part, we explore different approaches for organising a set of objects and, along the way, identify the actions of sorting, ranking and classifying. The rest of the workshop looks more specifically at animals: first by describing a selection of animals as a way to define and identify physical attributes and look for common characteristics between animals. Next, a first representation of the phylogenetic classification of animals, in the form of nested groups, will prompt a discussion on relationships between living organisms and the notion of common ancestry. A selection of stuffed animals will support the argument and serve as a helpful visual aid.
- Identify the different actions for putting things in order
- Present the notion of attributes and identify the ones used to characterise animals
- Realise that the diversity of attributes and selection criteria adopted influence the resulting classification
- Realise that animals share common attributes, identify them and summarise them based on the specimens on display
- Create a classification using nested groups and understand the principle of phylogenetic classification
During the workshop, the facilitator will present a selection from the Museum of Bordeaux collections including a host of stuffed specimens. Participants will also be introduced to learning resources specially devised for the workshop.
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