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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 4. Amphibians - Background for Educators

(Level: 6 : 11 acad : 11 appl : 12 acad  :: Classification)

Purpose: To understand classification and to identify simple structural characteristics of vertebrate animals, and to classify wetland species of Ontario and wetland species from around the world.

What you need: 3 activity sheets (included)

What You Do:

  1. To introduce classification to younger students, ask a student to sort the children into two or three groups according to some special characteristic of their shoes (e.g. running shoes/hard shoes, shoes with laces/without laces, light-coloured/dark-colored, etc.)
  2. Once completed, the remaining students attempt to guess the characteristic used in sorting the shoes. Repeat the activity using another student and based on a different characteristic. Again, the students will guess the characteristic.


  1. Are there any other characteristics that could have been used?
  2. Why is it necessary to classify?
  3. Name two classification systems that we use on a daily basis?
  4. For older students produce enough copies of one or more of the activity sheets for your class. The sheet "Zoo Wetland Species - Classification" can be done in-class using encyclopaedias and other research materials or at the Zoo using observation skills.

Extension: For senior secondary students.

This activity is designed to help demonstrate that organisms can be classified by using different characteristics. Use the attached imaginary organisms and have students work together in groups to organize the different organisms according to shared characteristics. Compare results. Depending on which characteristics (spots, legs, shell, shape) students begin with, each will develop different classification systems, demonstrating our role in determining classification hierarchies.


View the pop-up table (available here if you cannot view pop-up windows), read the characteristic in the left-hand column, and then check off which vertebrate animal the characteristic represents. Some characteristics may apply to more than one animal.


Place the names listed in this pop-up table (available here if you cannot view pop-up windows) under the Class to which they belong.


The Toronto Zoo exhibits many species that live in and around the world's wetlands. Some of the species in the Zoo collection are listed in this pop-up table (available here if you cannot view pop-up windows), although not all of them are not always on display. Place their names under the Class to which they belong.


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