Prior to homeschooling, I was a middle and high school science teacher. Creating my own “stuff” to go along with science lessons is just what I do. I came up with a few additions to go along with the science unit we just started, Kingdoms and Classification by The Good and the Beautiful.
The unit we are using can be seen and purchased from The Good and the Beautiful website. This is the second year we have been using other science units from this curriculum brand. This particular unit states grades K-8, however I feel the need to add in a few more items for instruction and review for my middle school students.
Each unit includes vocabulary words to be placed on a “science wall”. I have two blue poster boards hung with command strips for our science wall. In addition to vocabulary words, I usually hang diagrams that come with the unit. I felt this unit could use a graphic organizer to display the levels of taxonomy: kingdom, phylum, class, family, order, genus, and species. nomenclature, or scientific name, for organisms. Click on the link below to download and print for free:
For visual learners, graphic organizers are great for notetaking and making comparisons. I created a set of graphic organizers and notebooking pages for this unit. The notebooking, or journaling, pages feature a space for students to draw an example of the organism and a cluster map for characteristics. The graphic organizers include pages for students to compare two different kingdoms.
My kids love to play games, so I also created a game to review characteristics of the organisms in different kingdoms. The included kingdoms are bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. The characteristics the students pick from for each kingdom are unicellular vs. multicellular, prokaryote (no nucleus) vs. eukaryote (nucleus), autotrophic (makes own food) vs. heterotrophic (obtains food), and cell wall vs. no cell wall.
I made the cards to be printed in black and white on cardstock, but I colored the edges of my cards with markers before cutting them out, just to make it easier for the kids when playing. I know all of my perfectionist friends are shuddering at my coloring job.
The object of the game is to make sets of 2-3 characteristics for each kingdom. I decided I would introduce the cards as a learning activity first. The kids will each get a card for each kingdom and we will select all of the characteristics cards that could apply for organisms in that kingdom. For example, for plants we would select multicellular, eukaryote, autotrophic, and cell wall. Then, we will play the game where the kids take turns drawing and discarding cards to make sets with only 2 characteristics.
If you would like your own set of graphic organizers and notebooking pages, or if you would like a copy of the game, these items are available for download in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:
I would love to hear your feedback after you use these products with your own students!