Binomial Nomenclature Race – A STEM Team-Building Activity

September 8th, 2015

How many times have you heard that math is hard, no fun, or lame?

STEM problems and excites students at any age?

(Get the Team Building Activities for STEM Groups in our online store here)

Combining my love for both STEM and work together as a team.

The problem is that the internet is overcrowded with soft drink bottle rockets and exciting in their own rights, these kinds of activities often neglect the teamwork aspect that is necessary for any design project, technological advance, or scientific research.

So to offset this problem, we created a book with 50 of our favorite STEM team-building activities.  Below you will find one of our favorites:

Binomial Nomenclature Race - Team Building Activity for STEM Groups

Binomial Nomenclature Race – A STEM Team-Building Activity

Biology can seem hard to learn, especially when you throw in a different language! This activity teaches some of the basic Latin names for use in biology.

STEM Field:  Science
Number of Participants: 6-40
Time:  30-40 minutes
Activity Level:  Low
Props: Markers and colorful paper.

Set Up:
On each piece of paper, write one word from the full Latin classification names (starting with kingdom and dogs. There should be a total of at least 18 pieces of paper. For example: on one paper, write Animalia. On the next paper write Chordata, etc. Next, split the group into 3 teams.

Be the first team to complete the organism’s name correctly.

Step By Step:

  1. Give each team the 6 cards that correspond to the organism that they are assigned. Do not tell the teams which animal their cards describe.
  2. Have the teams race to place the cards in the correct order. If the animal was human, the cards should read: Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Primate, Hominadae, Homo, Sapiens.
  3. When a team thinks they have the correct answer, they will get your attention, and you will check the answer.
  4. If the group is incorrect, tell them how many cards are in the correct place.
  5. A group gets a point when they complete the puzzle before the other groups.
  6. For the second round, collect the cards and switch the organisms for each team.
  7. After the second round, give each team the organism that they have not had yet.
  8. The team with the most points at the end of round 3 is the winner!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do organisms need multiple words to describe them?
  2. What are some ways that you tell the differences between organisms?

Facilitator Notes

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