This lesson aims to introduce students to the concept of sorting objects into groups and to the idea that although individual members differ in many ways they have enough features in common to be recognised as a group (ie/ a species). It should be used as an precursor to lessons that introduce classification schemes for living things (ie/ plants/animals, vertebrates/invertebrates, mammals/birds/fish/reptiles/amphibians).
The class will also be given the opportunity to participate in an authentic research project, Galaxy Zoo. The classifications made by the group during the lesson will be help scientists gather information about the different types of galaxies in the universe.
Note: In order to sign up for a Zooniverse account, each pair of students will need an email address. The email address is the only information that they are required to give, they will need to create a login name, but they do not have to give their actual names unless they wish to do so. Email addresses are never shared by the Zooniverse with any other organisation.
Homework: Design a key to classify members of the class.
Further activities: Make your own Hubble Tuning fork: http://lcogt.net/en/education/activity/create-hubble-tuning-fork-diagram
Children should learn:
Science at key stage 3 (Year 7) Unit 7D: Variation and classification Section 8: a. How can we sort things into groups?
It would be helpful to have familiarised yourself with the galaxyzoo.org website.
Extension: Group Data Collection
One of each pair should visit the white/chalk board to fill in a tally chart of their results.
Homework: Make a bar chart of the results of today’s investigation.
Activity 1: Galaxy Zoo Classification Cards Duration: 10 minutes Team size: 3-4 students per team. Materials: 30 galaxy images on cards.
Activity 2: Galaxy Zoo Duration: 30 minutes Team size: 2 students per team. Materials: Access to the Galaxy Zoo Website
Introduce ellipticals, spirals and irregular galaxies to the class. 1. Demonstrate how spirals are disk shaped, like a plate. Ellipticals are shaped like balls. Explain that these are the two main groups that scientists divide galaxies into. 2. Ask everyone to choose and hold up a spiral galaxy from their pack of cards. Repeat for ellipticals. 3. Spiral galaxies look very different when viewed edge on. 4. Spiral galaxies can be split into two ‘subsets’ depending on whether or not they have a bar. 5. Spiral galaxies can have 1, 2 or more spiral arms. Also it isn’t possible to tell if a spiral galaxy has a bar or not if viewed from edge on. 6. Ellipticals can be round like a football or more like a rugby ball.
Introduce Galaxy Zoo to the Class
Activity 3: Classifying your galaxies. Duration: 10 minutes Team size: 2 students per team. Materials: Galaxy Zoo Key