Classification Challenge


Introduction|Task| Process| Evaluation| Conclusion| Credits

All living things are classified into five kingdoms: Animals, Plants ,Fungi, Monerans, and Protista. They are divided into these five kingdoms by characteristics that are shared by most of the other living things in that Kingdom. Kingdoms are divided into Phyla which are divided into SubPhyla which are then divided into Classes. For this web quest in addition to looking at the five Kingdoms we will be classifying animals in the Phylum Chordata, SubPhylum Vertebrata (vertebrates) into five Classes: Mammals, Fish, Birds, Amphibians and Reptiles.

Professor Plananimingi urgently needs your help as biologists in training to help classify unknown living things from a newly discovered uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean before any of the living organisms are lost due to humans invading their environment.

The Task

Your task is to assist Professor Plananimingi as a team of 5 biologists in training, each member specializing in different areas.

Your job is to research your area of specialization and assist your teammates to classify various living organisms on the island so you can present your findings in a report and presentation to other teams of biologists in training and to Professor Plananimingi for review. Your team will come across one living thing that  you and your teammates have never seen before that you will challenge your fellow teams to classify.

The Process

First you will be assigned to a team of 5 biologists in training each with a separate specialization. The specializations are:  Plant and Fungi, Monera and Protista, Amphibian and Reptile, Fish and Birds and lastly Mammals and Animal generalist.

      1. Each team member will be given a worksheet to fill in the characteristics of each of their two categories of specialization.
      2. Once you have been assigned to your area of specialization and received your worksheet you can begin you training in that area by clicking on your specialization. Use at least two resources for each of your two specialization areas.
    1. When all five of your team mates have completed their research and filled out their data sheets you are ready to begin you mission.
    2. Listed below are links to a picture and data on six living things you find on the island. Classify these living things using the data your group collected and report how you came to the final classification answer. This can be done in the form of a flowchart for each living thing and/or one for each and one combining all six into one. Sample flow charts.
       Living Thing #1
      Living Thing #2
      Living Thing #3
      Living Thing #4
      Living Thing #5
      Living Thing #6
    3. Once your group has classified the six living things it is your turn to create a living thing that nobody has ever seen before based on the characteristics of one of the kingdoms or the kingdom and class. Make a poster of your new living thing with a picture and a list of descriptive characteristics.
    4. Combine your research information, classification problem solving report on each of the 6 living things and your new living organism poster into a presentation to be presented to the class. The presentation may be live in the classroom using overheads or video taped from the island paradise.
    5. After the presentation biologist in training groups will classify the new living things submit a word processed report to Professor Plananimingi. The reports results will be reviewed and the results verified by the creators of the living things.



Professor Plananimingi is so glad you were able to help him out with classifying the living things he found on the island paradise. He hopes that now that you have become experts on classifying living things he can ask for your help again.

Thanks for your help
now I can enjoy the sun
and surf with Elana,
my mermaid girlfriend.
       Professor Plananimingi

Credits & Reference
, Moose photo by Gerald and Buff Corsi
Dogwood flower  and Fungi photos by  Brother Alfred Brousseau
http:// animfactory.com
Monera photo Copyright © 1994-2000 by Charles J. O’Kelly and Tim
 Littlejohn. Distribution for noncommercial purposes permitted
 so long as this copyright notice is included and
 acknowledgement is made.
  Amoeba Image © Steve Durr 1999


Lab 11 Animal Behavior

Animal Behavior

AP Lab 11  


Ethology is the study of animal behavior.  This involves observing an organism’s behaviors, interpreting what is observed, and research different organisms.  Ethologists study and observe an organism’s reaction to the environment around them.
Biotic and abiotic factors are limiting factors that control the maximum size of a given population.  Favorable conditions are desired by an organism of its home environment.  Because of this, an animal must search for the environment to fit its structure and lifestyle.  This is called habitat selection.
An animal can display many different types of behaviors, two being taxis and kinesis.  Taxis behaviors are deliberate movements toward or away from a stimulus.  Kinesis is a random movement that is not oriented toward or away from a stimulus.  Taxis behaviors are exemplary of the physiological needs of an organism.  Other behaviors are agonistic, aggressive or submissive actions toward another organism; or mating behaviors.


To observe animal behavior in this lab, isopods will be isolated in a controlled environment.  Isopods, more commonly known as pill bugs, are crustaceans with a hard exoskeleton, seven pairs of legs, and antenna.
Drosophila embryos develop in the egg membrane.  Once the egg hatches, the new larva emerges and feeds on the medium.  The larval stage has three instar stages.  After undergoing all these stages, the larva molts and becomes a pupa.  The pupa pupates and emerges as an adult fly.  A fly reaches adulthood about two weeks after hatching, and lives as an adult for only two weeks.

The following materials will be needed to complete the experiment: 10 pill bugs, hydrochloric acid solution 1%, potassium hydroxide solution 2%, 1 animal behavior tray, 2 pieces of filter paper, 1 camel’s hair brush, 1 magnifier or a dissecting microscope, and masking tape.


a) First, place the 10 pill bugs into the animal behavior tray and take general observations of their movement and interactions for at least 10 minutes.  Make a list of the data you have collected.  Sketch a drawing of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of an isopod and label any recognizable structures.
b) Now, label one side of the behavior tray A, and the other B.  Place five pill bugs on each side and for 10 minutes record how many are on each side of the tray.  Make observations each minute for 10 minutes.  Record this data in a table.  Calculate the average number on each side of the tray during the 10-minute period.  The taxis behaviors have just been recorded.
c) Next observe pill bugs in an altered environment.  Using a chemotaxis, the behavior of the organism should differ from the last part of the experiment.  A chemotaxis is the orientation of an organism in relation to the presence of a particular chemical.  Remove the pill bugs from side B of the tray.  Lay a piece of filter paper moistened with 1% hydrochloric acid solution over the surface of the tray.
d)Now allow the pill bugs to roam freely through the tray and observe their behavior.  Starting with five pill bugs on each side of the tray, make note of the number of pill bugs on each side of the tray every minute for five minutes.  Make a table to show the data collected.

a)      General Observations
-The larger pill bugs climbed over the smaller sized ones.
-Movement mostly around edges of tray.
-Legs move in quick, fluid motion.
-Use antenna to sense closeness of other isopods.
-When flipped on back side, will kick off from ground or other pill bugs to  flip back over.
-Seven pairs of legs.

Table 1   Pill Bug Taxis


Number of Pill Bugs in Side A Number of Pill Bugs in Side B Observations
1 8 2 All moved to one side, then to the other
2 5 5 Climbing on top of one another
3 4 6 Some not moving; five in one pile along the edge
4 1 9 Most moved to side B, then less movement
5 4 6 Little movement then became more active
6 2 8 Still mainly on side B
7 8 2 Many moving slower
8 8 2 Separated out, less grouping
9 6 4 Slower moving
10 7 3 Large groups sitting with no movement
Average 5.3 4.7  


 b)      Experiment Information
Hypothesis:  When a piece of filter paper moistened with a weak acid to one of the sections of the tray, the pill bugs will move into the acid-free area and stay away from the acid.

Design:  A small amount of a weak acid will be dropped onto filter paper and placed on one side of the behavior tray.  Five pill bugs will be put on each side and reading on the number of pill bugs on each side will be taken every minute for 10 minutes.

Data:     Table 2
Pill Bug Taxis with Altered Environmental Condition



Number of pill bugs on side A Number of poll bugs on side B (side with acid) Observations
1 7 3 Some backed away when they sensed the acid
2 4 6 More mobile on side with acid (side B)
3 3 7 Ones on side A not as active; not moving much
4 2 8 Less movement; not very active
5 4 6 Little movement on side B
6 1 9 Sitting against wall in group
7 2 8 Not very active on side B
8 0 10 Most not moving
9 0 10 Only one active
10 0 10 Barely any movement



1)      Based on class data, what environmental conditions do pill bugs prefer?
The pill bugs seemed to like the acid and stayed in the area where the acid was concentrated.

2)      How do you think pill bugs sense these conditions?
Isopods used their antenna in sensing these kinds of alterations in the environment.

3)      Are there any results from Part 1 of the lab that would justify your hypothesis?
Pillbugs did not seem to be attracted to acid.

5) Would you find pill bugs in each of the following environments?
a)      In a pine forest under a log – yes, pill bugs are attracted to acid
b)      In a garden in northeast U.S. under a pile of straw – yes, pill bugs like dark places
c)      Under a house in an arid part of Arizona – no, pill bugs like moist environments

Error Analysis:
No apparent mistakes were made.

From this experiment, the behaviors of isopods were observed and investigated.  Through the acid test, it was found that the pill bugs found the acid desirable and stayed in areas with it.  This proved the hypothesis that was stated was incorrect.




Things You’ll Need to Start Back to School

Biology I and Pre AP Biology

  • 3-ring binder
  • standard size, loose leaf notebook paper
  • Spiral notebook for Labs (70 sheets)
  • 3 prong folder with pockets for SLE Review
  • pencils with erasers
  • black ink pen (for writing scientific labels)
  • colored pencils
  • Hi-liter
  • stick glue
  • Graph paper (teacher supplies)
  • access to the internet & a word processor

AP Biology

  • Binder
  • standard size, loose leaf notebook paper
  • pencils with erasers
  • colored pencils
  • Spiral notebook for Lab Reports
  • Graph paper (teacher supplies)
  • black ink pens
  • Hi-liter
  • typing paper
  • access to the internet & a word processor
  • graphing calculator