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The Kingdom Quest

Objectives:

1. Students discover that the exclusive characteristics which define a particular kingdom are microscopic and not readily apparent through "naked eye" observations.

2. Students find that building a classification or phylogeny can be a challenging process not easily reached by conventional skills alone.

3. Students familiarize themselves with common denominator and highly differential characteristics of the five kingdom systems and the three super-kingdom systems.

4. Students practice a way of exhibiting student work that contributes to the learning environment.

Scenario:

Phase One (45 minutes):

Working in groups, students examine at least two living representatives of the different kingdoms through observing, measuring, recording, and communicating. The artifacts are placed on four different tables, along with magnifying glasses, a microscope, selected Microbingo cards, a light table, hand lens, rulers, videotape and other materials. On a large piece of chart paper, each group lists the characteristics of the living and non-living artifacts. The groups operate on a "no-knowledge" or "limited knowledge" basis; that is, they do not refer to texts or even to recollections of past knowledge.

Students briefly discuss and then present their ideas based on the organisms and organism remnants provided.

Phase Two (20 minutes):

Students in each group are given books and materials that define and explain the various kingdoms and domains. On another piece of chart paper, students identify these actual characteristics. They should be able to find three different systems, one substantially accepted by scientists, one partially accepted by scientists and mostly by educators, and one accepted by the general public but not by most scientists or educators.

Phase Three (20 minutes):

The last part of the activity is devoted to group discussion. Group members express what skills they used in coming to the models they did, referring to the chart paper they filled out. They discuss the differences between their models and the actual definitions. They ask: What accounts for the differences (microbial level, needs sustained observation, lack of natural history focus, biochemistry background, tend to use references with which we are familiar, etc.) ? What does this comparative process indicate about science? What does the microcosmos have to do with any of this?

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

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