science education

Exploring Nature Science Education Resource:

Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science Resources for K-12

Classification Activity - Describing Characteristics by Touch

Classification Activity - Describing Characteristics by Touch

Objective: To teach kids how to describe things using sense of touch. This is meant as an introduction to taxonomy, to start students thinking about traits. This will help them later describe traits they see for classification of plants and animals.


Shoe box or other small box or container with top hole cut in box (without sharp edges) that will allow one hand to reach in.

Collect and install objects i.e., fruits, vegetables, pine cones, small objects found in the classroom.

For older students, choose less familiar objects.


1. Have students take turns putting their hand in the box and describing one object from touch.

2. Another student can act as recorder and write down what the student describes.

3. Once they have written down 6-10 “traits,” the group should try to guess what the object is.

4. You can have one object in the box at a time or several.

5. Students may bring objects from home to try to “stump” other students.

6. Instructor should approve all objects to guard against sharp or dangerous objects. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.

cheetah, tiger, panda, fox, bear, cougar