Having the ability to group things and make sense of the world around us brings a sense of order to our lives and helps us find direction. In order to put things in groups the first thing you need to do is find likenesses and differences in the items that you are classifying. It is often easiest to start with the things that the items have in common. When you first identify these characteristics the differences between them will often present themselves more vividly. We find that students quickly get the hang of this through experience. We would encourage students to review this skill often throughout the course of the year by simply having students perform activities like you will find below in these worksheets. A great way to do this with students is to create sorting bins and start out really general. I often start teaching it with numbers 0-9 in a pile and 10-19 in another. Then I progress to colors and shapes. Starting out simple is the best way to get this skill going in their minds.
The worksheets will help prompt students to find definable characteristics that can express what the items you a grouping have in common and differ by. We will explore by to use charts to express these grouping procedures. We will also explore how this can be extended to the concept of pedigree charts and basic genetics. The worksheets include heavy use of Venn Diagrams to help students find likenesses and differences between organisms.