The Diversity Kits enable your students to explore classification of a wide range of organisms. There are two versions of this kit: one for elementary and middle school students, and the other for high school and college students. The image above shows a 6-group version of the kit for the younger grades. The high school and college kit is shown at the bottom of this page.
The photographs in the Diversity Kits show organisms that your students might not encounter otherwise. Elementary and middle school images are primarily restricted to animals, plants, and fungus, although some other organisms are also included to ensure that students understand that there are even more organisms to learn about. The older students (high school and college) have a much broader range of organisms included in their kits, including: animals, plants, fungus, bacteria, slime molds, eukaryotic algae, and protozoa.
The goals of the Diversity Kits are:
Student groups are given a full set of images and it is their task to sort them into categories. As they sort the images, they talk about each organism and what characteristics it possesses. They discuss and debate why each organism should go into any particular group. The activities are kinesthetic, interactive, visual, and also allow for individual reflections. Students have fun and also get to learn about new organisms.
The guidebooks that come with the kits include many lesson plans that can be used with the students. Each lesson plan also has student activity sheets that can be photocopied and distributed to your students. For grades 3 - 12, the lessons were developed to incorporate the NGSS and the specific standards involved are noted. The guidebooks for both kits include an evolutionary tree that identifies where each organism fits in a current model of organismal classification.
The teacher can choose which concepts and information they want their students to learn while using these kits. For example, some teachers may want students to learn the scientific names of the Kingdom for each organism, while other teachers may just want students to learn common names. Some teachers may choose to have their students use these organisms to develop evolutionary trees after classifying the organisms, while other teachers may just choose to have their students get familiar with organism classification. The lessons can take up one class period or multiple periods/labs.
Each kit comes in a handy box with a guidebook. All the images in the kit are laminated for durability in a classroom or laboratory environment. Each kit has repeating sets of the images with different color backgrounds for each student group; students can just pile their images back up at the end of the class by color. Each group set in the elementary and middle school kit has 18 unique images of diverse organisms along with 4 category cards to help their students sort those images. The high school and college kits have 28 unique images in each set.
Elementary and Middle School Diversity Kits:
High School and College Diversity Kits: