Shark Lesson Plans: Taxonomy and Nomenclature (grades 5-8)

By, Michelle Jewell

The fields of Taxonomy (classification of species) and Nomenclature (naming of species) are complex but critical aspects to any biology scheme-of-work.  The scientists at the Gills Club have developed a fun activity-based resource that uses sharks and rays to make understanding these concepts a breeze.  The activities are intended for grades 5-8, however, classes of all ages have enjoyed this project.

The course materials explain the basics and origins of nomenclature.  Then, we task students to individually build brand new species of shark and ray by combining Latin and Greek nomenclature cards.  Once you have a group of new shark and ray species, your class will have to agree on how to classify them into particular groups.  Finally, we use the brilliant resource of the Chondrichthyan Tree of Life to discuss real-life examples of shark and ray classification and nomenclature.  


You can download all of the free resources below.  

Build a shark presentation

Build a shark lesson

Build a shark cards

Build a shark example