Standard IV: Students will understand the structure and use of classification systems.

Objective 2: Use and develop a simple classification system.

Indicator B: Develop a classification system based on observed characteristics.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

1b. Sort and sequence data according to given criteria.
1c. Develop and use categories to classify subjects studied.
1e. When given a problem, plan and conduct experiments in which they analyze data and construct reasonable conclusions.
1g. Use field guides or other keys to assist in the identification of subjects studied.


Students should have learned how to use a classification scheme.
Students should have experience with varying types of classification schemes.

Summary: This lab is designed to be used as a class lab. It’s a teacher led lab so that the students can learn how to develop their own classification scheme.

Time Required: 20-30 minutes


  • 1 shoe from each student in the class
  • Air freshener
  • paper
  • pen or pencil


  1. Everyone in the classroom should take off a shoe and throw it out in the middle of the room.
  2. Now, our job is to divide these all down into categories based on characteristics. Some of the characteristics you could look at are: Left or right foot, laces or no laces, color, size, brand, type, etc.
  3. It is easiest to take a characteristic that could divide the whole group into two groups.
  4. Then divide those groups into 2-3 groups and so on.
  5. You should go all the way to the end where every shoe is unique.
  6. Make a diagram of how you divided out the shoes - an example has been provided (Click on the image for a larger view)
  7. Spray air freshener in room.


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Visit the Utah State 7th Grade Integrated Science Core Curriculum Page.
Updated August 27, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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Here is a flow chart that could be an example for you. (Click the link or the image for larger view.)