Deep-Sea Sort

This activity encourages students to take what they have learned about the principles of classification and apply it to deep-sea animals that they may have never seen before. Deep-sea images are included, which can be printed as hard copies to be given to student groups or shown as a slide show for the whole class. The 48 images are separated into four groups that each include a variety of deep-sea organisms.

Lesson Resources

Background Activities

Sorting Objects Lesson Plan (Word | PDF)

This lesson serves as an introduction to classification, using familiar objects to help students understand what attributes are used to classify things.

Local Organism Sort Lesson Plan (Word | PDF)

This lesson can be used as an intermediate step for students who may need more exposure to the process of classification. Using plants and/or animals that students are already familiar with may assist them in making connections between physical characteristics and categorization.

Additional Resources

Revolutionary naming system for all life on earth proposed: Based on the genetic sequence of organisms—

Teacher Feedback

This lesson provided students with a hands on approach to classification.  It let them explore the fact that there are different possible outcomes for classifying organisms, depending on the group/person doing the classifying.  It let them use logic and problem solving skills to achieve one of a variety of possible outcomes, and gave them the opportunity to explain why they chose to sort things the way they did.—R. Crawford, Shallotte, NC

This activity challenged students to resort to critical thinking since they weren’t able to identify the creatures. They were analyzing data without even realizing it, just by viewing the photos. They realized there is a variety of life in the ocean, many species they have never seen. They were intrigued by this experience and that may inspire them to pursue studies or careers in science.— S. Halas, Newport, NC


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