Exercises in Science
..............Jack Kimball.............



classifying : putting into groups or classes

classification : type, category class

distinction : difference

to distinguish : to see a difference

data : facts, information

to arrange : to put into order

arrangement : the way things are ordered

specific : definite, clear

general : broad, less definite

device : machine, instrument

function : job, use

substance / matter : mass in the form of solid, liquid or gas

atomic structure : arrangement of parts or particles of an atom

electrons : negative (-) atomic particles

protons : positive (+) atomic particles

biome : biological region or community, such as a forest


Classifying is an everyday activity for most people. When we talk about sports, most of us make distinctions regarding soccer, swimming, etc. First, we usually divide sports into two broad groups or classes: individual sports and team sports. And we often classify sports according to seasons, and according to whether the sport is one that we play or watch.

Classifying is a common activity in science as well. Scientists are very interested in observing and collecting facts or data and then arranging them in groups, categories or classes with related characteristics. When we arrange similar data in groups, we are classifying them. For example, of all living things, we generally distinguish between the broad categories of animals and plants. And since there are several million types of plants and animals, scientists divide these according to classes, subclasses, and so forth.

Here is a brief illustration.

more general________________________________________




___dogs wolves foxes

more specific ^

In this illustration dogs are classified as canines, a subclass of mammals, part of the animal kingdom. The basis for this classification is biological. But we can classify dogs in other ways. For instance, we can say that dogs are pets, part of a group that includes cats, birds and other animals. When we say a dog is a canine or pet, we are classifying from the more specific (dog) to the general (canine, pet).

We can also classify from the general to the more specific. We say, canines (general) can be classified as dogs, wolves, and foxes (more specific). Dogs (general) can be further divided into two categories, long-haired and short-haired (more specific).

Sentence Patterns Classifying from General to Specific


Canines{can be / may be / are}{classified / divided / categorized / grouped}into{groups / types / classes / categories.


The class canines{can be / may be / is}{categorized as / grouped as} dogs, wolves and foxes.


Canines include dogs, wolves and foxes.


There are three {types / kinds / classes / categories} of canines.

Sentence Patterns Classifying from Specific to General


A dog {can be / may be / is}{classified as / categorized as}a canine.


Dogs{can be / may be / are}{a type / an example}of a canine.

Other Words Specifying Classification

to classify
to divide
to categorize
to group

Exercise 1
Read the following paragraphs (A & B). Underline the topic sentence and words and phrases that specify classification.


Today's computer has four major components. The components can be categorized as the central processing unit (CPU), a main storage unit or memory, an auxiliary storage unit and input/output devices. The CPU is the most essential component; it is a type of operations center for the computer. There are three classes of operations for processing arithmetic and logical functions as well as for controlling other components of the computer.

All four million substances known to man are made of only about 100 types of matter. These types are called "elements.". Oxygen, carbon and gold are examples of elements. The elements are grouped into various classes based on their atomic structure, including the number of their electrons and protons. Oxygen is categorized as a "light" element, because it has only eight electrons and eight protons.

Exercise 2
Read the following vocabulary .

construction : the act of building or assembling

to convert : to change

hydroelectric power : electricity from the energy of water

to provide : to supply, to produce

to manufacture : to make

resources : supplies

aquatic : related to water

terrestrial : related to land

Number the following sentences in the logical order (1, 2, 3, etc.) to create a paragraph of classification. In the space below the sentences rewrite the paragraph in the correct order and underline the topic sentence and words and phrases that specify classification.

A. General subject: Resources for energy.

__ (a) With the construction of dams, the energy of river water can be converted into hydroelectric power.
__ (b) Finally, wood has been used to provide heat and to manufacture bricks and pottery.
__ (c) There are three basic kinds of energy resources: water, wind and wood.
__ (d) The wind's energy can also generate electricity.

B. General subject: Biological regions or "biomes."

__ (a) There are two kinds of aquatic biomes: saltwater (the oceans) and freshwater (rivers, ponds, etc.).
__ (b) Scientists divide the planet into two major biological regions or "biomes."
__ (c) These regions or biomes are classified as aquatic and terrestrial.
__ (d) Terrestrial biomes are categorized as desert, forest, grassland and plain.


Writing Exercise

Choose one of the following ideas and write a paragraph that contains a topic sentence and other sentences that classify. Also underline the vocabulary that expresses classification.

A.Classify food according to common characteristics such as health-value, sugar and sodium (salt) content, etc. (FOR EXAMPLE: Cake, ice cream and chocolate are foods with high-sugar content.)

B.How would you categorize electronics like telephones, cameras or computers? (FOR EXAMPLE: There are computers manufactured for science research, for office work, and for operating machines.)

C.Group various plants or animals into categories based on a common biome like a forest, a grassland or the sea. (FOR EXAMPLE: the pine tree, bamboo and moss are plants that live in forests.)