Dichotomous Key Practice Part I: Dichotomous Keys Using Smiley Faces


Part II: Creating Dichotomous Keys



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Part II: Creating Dichotomous Keys

In this part, you will be creating a dichotomous key. Use the steps below to help you.



  1. Use the animals listed to create a dichotomous key (you have been provided cards of these animals to help you). Give each animal a name to help you identify it.

  2. Decide upon a way to divide the items into two groups (like we did with the shoes). Think of identifying characteristics such as shape, size, position, color, texture, etc. One characteristic must be defined and used to decide which items are placed in which group.

  3. Record what factor was used to make the division and note which members of the original group belonged to each resulting group.

  4. After two groups have been created, divide the first group into two more groups based again on one criterion.

  5. Do the same with the second group you made.

  6. Continue to divide the groups until each item is by itself. Keep careful records of the groups that were created and the dividing criteria.

  7. Looking at your records and the divisions you made, create a dichotomous key that would lead someone else to make the same distinctions you did. Begin your key by recalling the first factor you used to divide into the two groups.

  8. When your key is complete, ask someone else to use it to classify the animals. Does your key lead others to the same identifications you made? If not, you need to make some changes.


Key Template: Use the following template to create your dichotomous key.

Title: Key to Identifying _________________________________________________________ Go To:

Step 1

1a.




1b.




Step 2

2a.




2b.




Step 3

3a.




3b.




Step 4

4a.




4b.




Step 5

5a.




5b.




Step 6

6a.




6b.




Answer Key: Fill in the correct answers to your dichotomous key and the steps you took to get that answer.

Card:

Name of animal:

Steps taken on dichotomous key to correctly identify:

A







B







C







D







E







F










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