Hierarchical Classification

Segment: 6. Plant & Animal Physiology, Standard: Classify agricultural plants according to taxonomy systems. (Technical II.A.1)


Hierarchical classification is a system of grouping things according to a hierarchy, or levels and orders. Plants can be classified as phylogenetics (how they look), environmental (where they grow), agricultural (what they are used for), or morpholofical (how their structure compares to each other). The categorization of species is an example of hierarchical classification: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species


  • Introduction activity: Classroom Classification
    • Place class into small groups
    • Give each group an index card with a different student’s name from the classroom roster.
    • Have each group create a way of identifying which student is on their card and write it on a separate card.
    • Collect classification cards and give them to a different group.
    • Gave each time to read the classification cards and then have each group report their findings.
    • Wrap-Up Questions:
      • Was there just one way to describe your person?
      • If someone from outside of our room was to look at these cards, what challenges might they encounter.
      • How does this activity relate to plant classification?
  • Plant Classification Unit & Activities
  • Plant Classification Video

Teaching Methods

Paired or Small Group Discussion, Experiment, Game and Simulations, Debate

Tags: agriculture food and natural resources education, curriculum

You Might Also Be Interested In

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at anrcommunications@anr.msu.edu.