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Critter Museum
Task with Student Directions

Grade 5-8 Performance Task
Contributed by: The RAND Institute (RAND)
Spring 1993 Research Pilot


As the director of the new science museum you have decided to set up a display of animals without backbones that are found in the area. To organize your display you need to sort and classify your collection of animals and provide some information about how they have adapted to the area.


  • Two bags, one marked with a red dot, and the other with a blue dot
  • Hand lens
  • 12 invertebrate "animals"
  • paper towel
  • markers


  • Open Bag A and spread the animals on the table.
  • Use your hand to carefully observe each animal.
  • Sort your animals into groups. You must put every animal into a group. Do not make more than seven groups.
  1. Use the following chart to list your groups and tell why you sorted your animals into these groups.

    Letters of Animals in this Group


    Directions (Part 2):

    • Bag B contains an animal that was found close to your new nature area.
    • Open Bag B.
    • Take out the new animal and compare it to the other animals on the table.
  2. Does this new animal fit into one of your groups? _____________________

    If yes, which group?

    Group ____________________________________

    Explain why.

  3. If the new animal does not fit into any of your groups, explain why.

  4. What 2 groups are most different from each other?

    Group _______ and Group _______

    Explain how these 2 groups are different from each other.


  5. Are these 2 groups similar in any way? _______ Yes _______ No

    Explain why.

Directions (Part 3):

  • Find the animal that matches the animal shown in the picture below.
  • Observe the animal.
  • Fill out the information card below on this animal.

Information Card


  • The number of this animal is __________
  • List three characteristics of this animal. _______________________________________________________________________



  • List 5 ways that this animal might protect itself from other animals and insects:











Put animals 1-10 into Bag A.

Put animal 11 into Bag B.



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