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This lesson teaches students to follow the directions of a dichotomous key while naming “Wacky People”




9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Wacky People Dichotomous Key
By – Vivian Johnson
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 9 – 12

If you wish to teach a student to really use a key and not jump to the names because they recognize the animal shown in the pictures, this key makes them concentrate on the procedure needed to identify something unknown.

You do need to give some instruction on how to use the key:

      The purpose of using the key is to name the creature shown. Stick with one character until the name is reached, then go to the next.
    A dichotomous key gives instructions in pairs of statements. With each character, start with the first pair of statements. Decide which description describes your chosen character best and follow the line to the right. There will either be a number or a name. If it is a number, go to the pair of steps with that number, for example, if the number is 3, go to steps 3a and 3b. If the line ends in a name you have identified your character, so write it down by the creature. Continue until each creature has a name. There is only one creature per name, and no creature has two names.

Most of my students have loved doing this, and I have worked with special ed at high school level, regular ed at the junior high level. Should be doable for students who are able to read the words and follow instructions. Enjoy the fun.


Wacky People Key
1a Two feet 2
1b Some other number of feet 3

2a Does not look at all human 4
2b Looks a lot like a human 5

3a One leg 6
3b Three or four legs 7

4a Fly-like Mosk Cara
4b Not fly-like 8

5a Seems to be a girl Rita Nita
5b Not a girl 9

6a Leg is curled , two feet Ru-ela.Brella
6b Leg is straight, one foot Giggles

7a Three legs 10
7b Four legs 11

8a Has webbed feet Hex Oculate
8b Clawed feet 12

9a Curly hair, no toes Lugio Wirum
9b Wiggly looking mouth, three toes on feet C. Nile

10a Very long nose, open mouth Elle E. Funk
10b Some other appearance 13

11a Has duck bill, two pinchers Tri D. Duckt
11b No arms or pinchers 14

12a Has ears, tail, and beak Grif Leon
12b Four eyes on stalks Eggur Ondy

13a One eye, webbed feet Cue Kide
13b Four stalked eyes, four pinchers Quadrumenox

14a Three toed feet, nose like a flower Tunia petalos
14b Spider-like, has spots Patterned mulywumpus

E-Mail Vivian Johnson !

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