To help students identify different turtles and develop an understanding of the scientific process of classification and using a dictomous key.
1. The turtles lettered A to J (specimens not in jars will have letters on the bottom of their shells).
2. Copies of 'Bones and Scutes of the Turtle Shell' and the 'Turtle key
Classification is a way scientists divide large groups of organisms into smaller closely related groups. Classifications are largely based on internal anatomy and development. To classify an organism you must know a lot about it. To identify an organism, scientists use a dichotomous key. This type of key offers the user two choices (hence the name dichotomous). By following the key students can identify the lettered turtles in the science box. This activity is designed to introduce students to the scientific process of classification and using a dichotomous key. The lettered turtles should be randomly placed on a table. give each student or group of students copies of 'The Bones and Scutes- of the Turtle Shell', the Turtle key and activity sheet. Ask them to use the worksheet and key to correctly label the turtles.
1. Ask students to list different characteristics or traits that were used in the key.
2. Ask the students to explain how turtles from differnt classifications (families, genera, classes) are different or similar to each other.
3. Ask the students to make an identity card for some of the turtles.
A. Eastern Mud Turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
B. Loggerhead, Caretta caretta
C. Eastern Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta picta
D. GopherTortoise, Gopheruspolyphemus
E. Chicken Turtle, Deirochelys rehcularia,P> F. Atlantic ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea kempi
G. Yellow-bellied slider, Pseudemys scripta scripta
H. Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina serpentina
I. Loggerhead Musk Turtle, Sternotherus minor minor
J. Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina
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