PDA

View Full Version : Studying Animal Classificiations



mratts
04-09-2012, 11:44 AM
My son is an animal enthusiast. By the end of the year, I'm going to work on a great lesson of classification, which I'm really excited about because he's very interested in how everything is related.

This week we're learning about some birds that we'll be studying at the zoo next week, and while researching the green hanging parrot, one of the species we'll be concentrating on, I found an awesome website that gives the full classification for possibly every species identified. I haven't looked into it all that much yet, but I wanted to share it here. Hope others find it useful too!

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/index.html

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-09-2012, 03:00 PM
This is perfect timing! My daughter, animal lover extraordinaire, want me to make her a unit about octopuses and finding the classification was one of the first things that came to mind. Thanks!

Isabel
04-09-2012, 03:01 PM
Don't forget to tell her about the endangered Tree Octopus ;)

Heliconian
04-09-2012, 03:28 PM
Just a note on the classification systems - many of the classifications in older books are no longer accurate, and there are many scientist who believe that the system needs to be discarded and recreated to reflect genetic relationships rather than ones based on physiological similarities.

We just attended a lecture by a famous paleontologist, and were told, in no uncertain terms, that birds are reptiles (avian dinosaurs). He assured us that this is not controversial. Though I'm not sure that I believe this issue is as settled as he claimed, it did make me think about the value of classification in our homeschool curriculum. The cognitive skills required for classification are valuable, but understanding that anything you learn may be inaccurate by the time you repeat it to anyone else can be very frustrating.

Isabel
04-09-2012, 03:53 PM
That's a great point Heliconian.

I think it's really good to teach kids that current or most widely accepted state of knowledge, but also to teach them that challenging and updating theories is part of the way science works.

I remember feeling really let down when I read about the dinosaur extinction as a young adult, because my teacher in 2nd grade had told me that "dinosaurs died out because mammals stole all their eggs". But it wasn't being told dubious information that annoyed me; it was being told something presented as an irrefutable fact when it wasn't.

With the classification, you could teach a bit about how taxonomy has developed starting back at Pliny, and how even recently some animals were first said to be one thing and later another.

wife&mommy
04-09-2012, 07:02 PM
Thank you for this link, tucked it away for future use.

mratts
04-12-2012, 11:21 AM
Just a note on the classification systems - many of the classifications in older books are no longer accurate, and there are many scientist who believe that the system needs to be discarded and recreated to reflect genetic relationships rather than ones based on physiological similarities.

We just attended a lecture by a famous paleontologist, and were told, in no uncertain terms, that birds are reptiles (avian dinosaurs). He assured us that this is not controversial. Though I'm not sure that I believe this issue is as settled as he claimed, it did make me think about the value of classification in our homeschool curriculum. The cognitive skills required for classification are valuable, but understanding that anything you learn may be inaccurate by the time you repeat it to anyone else can be very frustrating.

Thanks for this. This is something that saddens me, like pluto no longer being a planet lol. I have a hard time letting go of those things I knew from childhood, though I'm working on it and I teach ds the currently accepted theories and then tell him about what I learned. It helps him to realize that none of this is set in stone, and that what he learns now might change in a few years as scientists learn more. But the linked site does classify birds under the class Reptilia. While I'm not an expert by any means so I can't verify the relative accuracy of all the listings, this does show that it's at least somewhat up-to-date.

Riceball_Mommy
04-12-2012, 01:34 PM
I'm working on planning out our science for next year (more like this summer), so I've bookmarked this and I'm going to add it into my notes. I didn't know about birds being considered reptiles now. That's pretty interesting.

Ellie's mom
04-16-2012, 01:03 AM
...and makes better sense now than when I was a kid.

I like being able to to point to the underlying genetics that makes up the evidence. The old taxidermy way was always argued and revised.

Will definitely enjoy the link as I am re-learning evolution with my daughter.

And as for dino extinction, Isabel, another example of [email protected]#$%! Some teachers think they have right to pass off their opinions as fact. Hard lesson in life that you can't trust grownups all the time.