a Dichotomous Key of Idaho Reptiles
suggested grade levels: 9-12
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson
1. The students will learn how to use the reptile section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. The students will learn how to make a dichotomous key.
3. The students will hone their observation skills and be able to recognize defining characteristics in reptiles.
1. Use the reptile section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
To get there: Click on the Atlas Home, Biology, Reptiles, Identification Pages, then click on Comparator Page.
2. Encourage students to use the Comparator page to compare the following species of lizards and make a dichotomous key distinguishing each species. Students can click and view two species at a time and decide on what defining characteristics they can use to distinguish between species. Emphasize to students that they must pay careful attention to detail when doing an exercise such as this one.
1. Northern Alligator Lizard
2. Collared Lizard
3. Longnose Leopard Lizard
4. Short-horned Lizard
5. Desert Horned Lizard
6. Sagebrush Lizard
7. Western Fence Lizard
8. Side-blotched Lizard
9. Western skink
10. Western Whiptail
3. Have groups exchange papers and see if other groups can distinguish these species using a different group's set of defining characteristics.
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.