Using Graphic Organizers to Teach Biology

Graphic organizers are great for showing how to classify organisms in biology. My daughter was having trouble visualizing the different biological classifications. I made a Venn diagram and some flow charts to help her understand the different kingdoms.

Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams are graphic organizers used to contrast and compare information. I used different colored lines for each circle help my daughter visualize the information.

Venn diagram

The center circle contained the characteristics of all life. All of the circles overlap with the center because all organisms are alive. I used a yellow line because I thought that yellow was a good representation of life.

The kingdoms Animalia and Plantae overlap because the organisms in each group are multi-celled. I choose a brown line for the Animalia kingdom because I thought of animals having brown fur. I could have chosen another color because the Animalia kingdom also includes birds, fish, and reptiles. Also not all animals have brown fur.

I used green for the Plantae kingdom because plants are usually green.

The kingdoms Monera and Protista overlap because they are microscopic.

I used black and black dots for the Fungi kingdom because they are the decomposers. The Fungi group does not overlap with any other group.

Besides each kingdom's Latin name I used the English equivalent word. I also mentioned the main characteristic of each kingdom.

Flow Charts

Flow charts are another type of graphic organizers. The charts can help place organisms into categories. You can make a biological key that list all of the five kingdoms. Here is a picture of one that I started.

biology key

You can also make a more detailed one for each kingdom. I did one for the kingdom fungi. I used the same colored lines that I used in my Venn diagrams. In the kingdom box I list some of the characteristics of that kingdom. The kingdom links to the Phylum. In Fungi there are four phyla.

fungi key

The Phylum is linked to the organism's class. In the phyla Amastigomycota there are three classes. The classes are linked to examples of species that are in each class.

Classification is very detailed in biology. In our textbook the author only talks about kingdom, phylum and class. The author does not go over order, family, and genius. He does not give Latin names for the species.

One thing that I could have done with the flow chart was to assign different shapes to the phylum, classes, and species. In the office program that I am using I could have used a triangle, rectangle, and oval. The different shapes would have made the charts more visual.

Another idea would be to use different colors for the phylum, classes, and species. In each kingdom all of the phylum could be one color and all of the classes could be another color.

Graphic organizers can help your child visualize biological classification.

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