written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 4/28/2009
Use this biology lesson plan to develop students' understanding of scientific classification, specifically genus classification.
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What is Genus?
Teachers, read the following information about Genus classification to your students, then do the included activity.
The category of Genus is found in the scientific classification system above species and below family. The Genus category shares many similar traits, but not enough similar traits to be all in the same species. However, those found in the same species will be found in the genus as well. When naming living things, the name is in the order of genus, species. The genus will be capitalized as well as italicized.
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Teachers, write the following groups on the board and ask students to tell you if they would be found in the same genus.
horse, butterfly and moth
Fox, dog and wolf
blue jay, robin and canary
Man, woman, boy
oak, elm and birch
Once students have identified which groups belong to the same genus, ask them if those same groups belong to the same species as well? Why or why not? What are the similarities that made the groups belong to the same genus? Why are the similarities that make these groups belong to the same species as well?
Write the following scientific names on the board as they are written here. Ask students to correct the names if necessary.
homo Sapien (human beings)
Juglans Regia (English walnut)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
passer domesticus (house sparrow)
Once students have corrected the names on the board, ask them to notice that the Juglans regia and Juglans nigra belong to the same genus, but different species. Can students guess what the word "juglans" means? Ask students if they can identify the meaning of some of the words listed in the scientific names. Inform students that these names are Latin, which is the language known best to the scientific community. Scientists use Latin because it is the language that so many other languages are derived from, which makes it the most commonly used one of the past.