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It may surprise you to know that there is not always one “right” way to classify things.   For example stars may be grouped based on their size, their brightness, or where they are located.  Below is a picture of a group of shells.  Write down at least four different ways of dividing the shells into groups.
Record your groups in a table like the one below.



Pointed end

Shells that have a point are grouped together and shells which do not have a point are grouped together.










  1. Compare your groups with the groups your friends have created. Did you have at least one group which was the same as a friend's grouping?
  2. How many different groups do you think can be created using only the shells in the photograph?
  3. With the ability to divide things into so many groups of two, how do you think scientists determine different groupings?

Review science safety rules here.

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  1. The title of the activity
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Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 7th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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