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Classification and the Dichotomous Key: Tools for Teaching Identification

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Abstract

Classification is a vital science-process skill for all students to master. Understanding dichotomous keys as a means of classification enables students to better comprehend large amounts of information and understand how to organize, compare and contrast, and analyze that information. To biology students, mastering the dichotomous key provides an avenue through which they can identify any organism they come in contact with. This article discusses how to approach and teach the concepts of classification and identification in science classes. (Contains 5 figures.)
... Several authors have discussed how to teach science using dichotomous keys, but none managed to touch upon all three key points. Specifically, collecting characters to form either a dichotomous key (Gobalet, 2003;Beeber et al., 2004;Watson & Miller, 2009) or a flow chart (aka, a decision tree; Šorgo, 2006;Hwang et al., 2010), does not show how this type of thinking could be useful to the general public (i.e., it does not show, in terms of scientific literacy, how this is applicable to public policy issues). Using a previously generated dichotomous key to identify non-biological items (Watson & Miller, 2009) does not teach the hierarchical thinking beyond key construction. ...
... Specifically, collecting characters to form either a dichotomous key (Gobalet, 2003;Beeber et al., 2004;Watson & Miller, 2009) or a flow chart (aka, a decision tree; Šorgo, 2006;Hwang et al., 2010), does not show how this type of thinking could be useful to the general public (i.e., it does not show, in terms of scientific literacy, how this is applicable to public policy issues). Using a previously generated dichotomous key to identify non-biological items (Watson & Miller, 2009) does not teach the hierarchical thinking beyond key construction. In this paper, we show how all three of these aspects-hierarchical organizations, scientific literacy, and descriptive science-can be taught in one module. ...
Article
Science education as it is taught in the twenty-first century primarily focuses on scientific literacy, specifically on the process of science and how it can be applied. Most process-driven pedagogical tools are based on hypothesisdriven science, in which the hypothesis is the focal point. In descriptive science, the focal point is the organization of data, leading ultimately to the formation of questions and hypotheses. This technique helps students through the process of data collection, organization, and application without the use of scientific terminology. The students are led through the process using common objects, and then required, as a homework assignment, to collect, organize, and apply their own data. By using this simple, repetitive technique, students will see how a classical scientific field (taxonomy) can be applied to modern life situations. © 2018 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, .
... ;Watson e Miller, 2009) destacan que a clasificación taxonómica require a aprendizaxe de contidos específicos. Porén, esta aprendizaxe non é suficiente por si mesma, tal e como demostra este estudo. ...
... ). Ademais, a experiencia doutros autores comoWatson e Miller (2009) pode servir como punto de partida para o deseño das devanditas actividades.6. VALORACIÓN CRÍTICA DO TRABALLO NO PROCESO DE FORMACIÓN DO ESTUDANTEA maior dificultade deste estudo foi levar a cabo as actividades na aula e analizar os resultados. ...
Research
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The proposed tasks were performed by 50 7th grade students attending the subject Biology and Geology in an urban school of Santiago de Compostela. This study is framed in qualitative research and it focuses on analysing students’ answers. For that purpose, a series of rubrics based on those answers were developed. The findings highlight students’ difficulties in justifying their own scientific explanations and in classifying species that are unknown to them. Even though, they proved to be skilful enough at constructing explanations for a scientific phenomenon and at classifying several known species such as mammals, snakes or lizards.
... A dichotomous key is a powerful tool for classification and identification of both objects and above all living organisms (Watson, 2009). It provides the reader with a simple choice method between two paired statements describing alternative morphological characteristics. ...
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This work presents an updated dichotomous key to all snake species of Europe, based on morphological , morphometric and distributional characters. It gathers data from both the last dichotomous keys concerning European snake species and every following paper giving updates on taxonomic classification or the occurrence of new allochthonous species. The key includes 58 species of snakes (five of which are recent allochthonous and one is listed as "uncertain taxon") distributed on the European territory, and photographic material for each species. The aim of this paper is to make the identification of all European snake species through a single manuscript more accessible, not only for the research field, but also for the citizen science, thus enhancing data collection and assist species conservation.
... Tradicionalmente el uso de las claves dicotómicas, ha estado limitado al ámbito científico y a la enseñanza superior debido a la complejidad que estas presentan en relación con la terminología utilizada y a las características biológicas a las que hacen referencia. Son numerosos los intentos para hacer más sistemático el proceso de la identificación de los organismos, y dentro de ellos, las claves dicotómicas son uno de los recursos más utilizados (Leyva-Barceló et al., 2008;Randler, 2008;Watson, 2009;Tofilski, 2018). ...
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Dichotomous keys are resources or tools that researchers, teachers or other personnel linked to the study of biological sciences use for the determination of diff erent species of organisms, by comparing two exclusive characters. The investigation proposes diff erent dichotomous keys, illustrated in electronic format, for the identification of different aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate taxa present in Cuban fauna that includes orders, families, genera and species, and that are in correspondence with the Zoology Program’s General II (Zoology of the chordates), which is taught in the Degree in Biology Education at the Central University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas, in the Republic of Cuba. Various theoretical and empirical methods were used in the investigation in their dialectical interrelation which allowed identifying the existing deficiencies and proposing the solution. Th e information for the diagnosis was obtained from the application of diff erent instruments, such as document review, participant observation, pedagogical test, case study, student survey and expert evaluation. In order to mitigate the diffi culties detected, and with a view to introducing for the first time the illustrated dichotomous keys for vertebrates in electronic format in the Bachelor’s degree in Biology Education, they were developed and subjected to expert criteria that assessed them as relevant.
... Tradicionalmente el uso de las claves dicotómicas, ha estado limitado al ámbito científico y a la enseñanza superior debido a la complejidad que estas presentan en relación con la terminología utilizada y a las características biológicas a las que hacen referencia. Son numerosos los intentos para hacer más sistemático el proceso de la identificación de los organismos, y dentro de ellos, las claves dicotómicas son uno de los recursos más utilizados (Leyva-Barceló et al., 2008;Randler, 2008;Watson, 2009;Tofilski, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Dichotomous keys are resources or tools that researchers, teachers or other personnel linked to the study of biological sciences use for the determination of diff erent species of organisms, by comparing two exclusive characters. The investigation proposes different dichotomous keys, illustrated in electronic format, for the identification of different aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate taxa present in Cuban fauna that includes orders, families, genera and species, and that are in correspondence with the Zoology Program’s General II (Zoology of the chordates), which is taught in the Degree in Biology Education at the Central University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas, in the Republic of Cuba. Various theoretical and empirical methods were used in the investigation in their dialectical interrelation which allowed identifying the existing defi ciencies and proposing the solution. The information for the diagnosis was obtained from the application of different instruments, such as document review, participant observation, pedagogical test, case study, student survey and expert evaluation. In order to mitigate the difficulties detected, and with a view to introducing for the first time the illustrated dichotomous keys for vertebrates in electronic format in the Bachelor’s degree in Biology Education, they were developed and subjected to expert criteria that assessed them as relevant.
... Hal ini disebabkan karena kesulitan dalam proses pembuatan dan penggunaan secara langsung. Sedangkan menurut Watson & Miller (2009) penggunaan kunci determinasi dalam pembelajaran memiliki keunggulan karena mengembangkan daya kreativitas dan penalaran peserta didik, memotivasi peserta didik untuk belajar dan memudahkan peserta didik memahami, membandingkan dan menganalisis materi yang sedang dipelajari. Selanjutnya Purnamasari et al. (2012) menyebutkan bahwa penggunaan kunci determinasi dalam pembelajaran mampu meningkatkan efektifitas pembelajaran peserta didik. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to develop and test the key of determination of bats in high school class X animalia learning. The research was conducted at Labuapi 1 Public High School in July-August 2019. This research was a ADDIE model of Research and Development (R&D) research. The population of this study was class X. The research sample was taken by cluster random sampling technique. Research data includes the key products of bat determination and product trial data including student responses and teacher responses to learning. The results showed that the study succeeded in making the key to the determination of bats that could be used by students in the class on the subject of animalia biology class X. The key to the determination that was successfully made, was further developed in learning animalia biology. After learning takes place, then analyze the responses of students and teachers to learning by using the key of determination. Students' responses to the use of the determination key obtained the highest average value of 3.54 with good criteria and the lowest average value of 2.33 with no good criteria. The teacher's response to the use of the determination key obtained the highest average value of 4.00 with good criteria and the lowest average value of 3.33 with good criteria.
... Jika siswa sudah memiliki pengetahuan awal dan sudah memiliki pengetahuan tentang hewan-hewan tersebut, mengapa praktikum pengamatan hewan harus tetap dilaksanakan? Watson & Miller (2009) ...
Article
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In science teaching and learning, especially Biology, ability to classify things is an important ability. Those ability will help students to distinguishing, agglomerating, categorizing, connecting concepts with or concepts and so on. Based on observation which done on Sumedang region’s schools, we discovered that on Animal Classifications concepts, students have difficulty to understanding the terminology of determination key. Besides, teachers also being interviewed and we collected data that in learning on class, students apparently cheating the determination key to finish their work. From that observation and interview data, we innovated determination key as a media to learn Animal Classifications with creating card of phylum identification. This is a R&D model. The result of this research expected to help students grow their classify ability and help teacher on teaching and learning as a learning media.
Article
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How to identify plants according to the hierarchy or level of taxonomy to find the scientific name of the plant species is a very difficult task for students. The field trip strategies and discovery learning models can be used to see the usage of science processing skills in students. Learning settings that involve activeness, creativity, learning outcomes, and creative thinking abilities of students in accordance with the national education system are still in development. This is required to overcome educational problems such as lower levels of the abovementioned abilities, based on conventional and teacher-centred learning. This study aimed to determine the effect of applying the field trip strategy and the use of key media of determination to improve the discovery ability of students in the classification systems of lower-plants botany. The results of multiple linear regression analysis showed that there was an effect of the application of field trips strategy and the use of key determination on the ability of students in the concept of lower-plant botany courses.
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The purpose of this study was to identify the differences in eye movement pattern shown in shown in classification process between the scientifically gifted and general students in elementary schools. The subjects for the research consisted of 16 gifted students in special education center for the gifted at Seoul National University of Education and 22 general students at G elementary schools. The tasks consisted of four hierarchical biology classification tasks and one non-hierarchical tasks. SMI`s Eye Tracker (iView X^{TM} RED) was used to collect eye movement data while the Begaze software analyzed the task performing process and eye movements. The findings of this study were twofold. First, there was a significant difference in students` fixation duration by students` academic achievement level. Gifted students spent little time on scanning details and found the features successfully. Second, the process of the classification is different by students` academic achievement. General students spent more time to gaze the salient features not relevant features. They had a difficulty to find the element to classify.
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