Part B

Making a Dichotomous Key

2. Gather 10 different single shoes, and use masking tape and a marker to label the soles of the shoes with the owner's name. The labeled shoes should then be placed on a single table in the classroom.

3. Form small groups. Discuss the appearance of the shoes. In your lab report, make a table like the one below that lists some of the shoes' general characteristics, such as the type and size. Also list the names of the students who own the shoes. Complete the chart by describing the characteristics of each person's shoe.

4. Use the information in your table to make a dichoto-mous key that can be used to identify the owner of each shoe. Remember that a dichotomous key includes pairs of opposing descriptions. At the end of each description, the key should either identify an object or give directions to go to another specific pair of descriptions. Write your dichotomous key in your lab report.

5. After all groups have completed their key, exchange keys with a member of another group. Use the key to identify the owner of each shoe, and then verify the accuracy of your identification by reading the label on the shoe. If the key has led you to an inaccurate identification, return the key so that corrections can be made.

6. ^âv Clean up your materials before leaving ▼the lab.

Analysis and Conclusions

1. What other characteristics might be used to identify leaves with a dichotomous key?

2. Were you able to identify the shoes using another group's key? If not, describe the problems you encountered.

3. How was it helpful to list the characteristics of the shoes before making the key?

4. Does a dichotomous key begin with general descriptions and then proceed to more specific descriptions, or vice versa? Explain your answer, giving an example from the key you made.

5. Are dichotomous keys based on a phylogenetic or morphological approach to classification? Explain your answer.

Further Inquiry

List characteristics that might be used to identify birds or other animals using a dichotomous key. Compare your list of characteristics with those used in a dichotomous key in a field guide for identifying birds or other animals.

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