The Lord has blessed this earth with millions of interesting species, with more and more discovered every day. This creates a dilemma for scientists: how do we classify these species for further study? This classification system is called Taxonomy that had its early beginnings with Aristotle and was altered over the centuries to our modern system of Taxonomy. With this in mind, the students were presented with an assignment to classify newly discovered species.
First the students were sent into the jungle to find new species and classify them as they were discovered. Each team of two collected their new species, classified them, and returned to the "ship" where they met with the other teams to group all the individual collections together.
Once together, the teams found that they had classified the species differently and had to come up with a system that everyone agreed. This proved to be difficult but not impossible. With some arrangements and great compromise the students were able to classify their now combined group of species.
Now the students were given the task of taking their species to a world conference where ALL the species were collected and had to be classified. Great arguments erupted. Some believed the various species should be grouped by the type of material they were made, while others thought it was more important to group them by function. More problems arose when one species did not fit into any of the groups. Should it have its own family or genus? Did they discover and entirely new Kingdom?
The students realized the difficulties scientists face when trying to classify new or existing species. They realized that their persuasion skills played a large roll in classifying the new species. The loudest voice, or the most influential, or the most logical arguments tended to dominate an individuals decisions. See the circled student in the above photo, he looks quiet pensive, does he not? He is Nicholas who finally spoke up and said, "this is impossible, with all these opinions, nothing can possibly get accomplished."
Science is a branch of study dedicated to the accumulation and classification of observable facts in order to establish general laws about the physical world.
The students learned with this assignment that when personal bias enters the picture, science becomes very challenging.