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					     2.3                  Solve a Problem

                                   How Can Plants be Classified?
     LEARNING TIP                  Problem
     To review the steps in        A botanist has just moved into your community. Figure 1 shows
     problem-solving, see the
                                   some of the plants that she has classified. She wants to classify the
     Skills Handbooks section
     "Solving a Problem."
                                   local plants and has asked you to help.

Leafy aster                           Deer fern                           Western flowering dogwood
Figure 1
Native British Columbia plants

                                   Create an effective classification key to identify five plants based on
                                   their leaves and stems.
                                   To be successful, your classification key must
                                     • use external, physical characteristics of the leaves and stems
                                     • provide two choices for each of the characteristics in your key
                                     • be accurate and reliable
24         Unit A The Diversity of Life                                                                    NEL
Plan and Test
 1. With a partner, collect a leaf that is attached to a stem from five
    different plants. Look for specimens that are already on the
 2. Label each specimen with a name or a number.
 3. Select three or four characteristics that you can use to create a
    classification key for the five leaves (Figure 2).
 4. Create a classification key.

            -   number of leaves on stem
            -   position of leaf on stem
            -   shape of leaf
            -   vein pattern of leaf
            -   size of leaf
            -   colour of leaf
            -   texture of leaf

Figure 2

 5. Explain your classification key to a classmate. Ask for feedback
    as to how you could make your key clearer.

 6. Exchange leaves and keys with a classmate. Ask him or her to
    use your classification key to identify your five leaves. Was your
    classmate successful?

      1. How did feedback from a classmate help you develop a better
        classification key?
      2. Why are observation skills so important when creating and using a
        classification key?

NEL                                                                          2.3   Solve a Problem   25