Friday, March 12, 2010

Dichotomous Key

Today's homeschool project was making a dichotomous key for the goats out in the barn. A dichotomus key is a common and useful tool in science used to help identify different species. It is often used in biology to classify animals and plants, it can be used in other disciplines as well. The key offers 2 choices for an observable characteristic, following throught the questions asked in the key leads one to the correct individual. Here is the dichotomous key for the goats in our barn.

1. A. White color, go to question 2 (Q2)
B. Brown, go to Q8

2. A. Male--Klaus
B. Female got to Q 3

3. A. has a beard, go to Q4
B. No beard--Desdemona

4. A. Horns go to Q5
B. No horns, got to Q6

5. A. Spotted--Calliopi
B. Light brown on back--Veronica

6. A. Roman nose-Maggie
B. Flat or dished nose, got to Q7

7. A. Has a scur* --Elizabeth
B. No scur--Millie

8. A. Male--Eeyore
B. Female-- Veronica

* a scur is a horn remnant (after dehorning), it's short brittle and usually curved.

This a fun and educational project you can do with any kids. You don't need to identify an animal or plant either. Write up you own questions to decribe cars, or things in you house like clothes or food in the fridge.

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