Scientific Name Tag

Description: Name tag on folded paper with personal drawn designs and taped decorations. Name written on the tag will be similar to an organism’s scientific name, consisting of the genus of an actual organism that can be found at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (such as Ardea for great blue heron) combined with the student’s first name–for example, Ardea charlie.

1. Familiarity with binomial nomenclature.

2. Students may be able to present and introduce themselves into a group or to the class.

3. Knowledge of the genera of some JHNWR organisms.

4. Free expression of artistic preference and individuality.

Author: Blair

Grade level or Target Age Range: kindergarten to high school

Sample, Historical Art Examples, and References:

Project Sample:

Vocabulary:Genus, species, binomial nomenclature

Materials:Construction paper, tape, crayons or color pencils

Anticipatory Set: Which of these animals do you think are most similar to you or which animal do you like the most? What are their genus names? Combine their name and your name.


1. Show example video of scientific names (scene from Fantastic Mr. Fox). Discuss the basic process of binomial nomenclature. Why it is necessary, especially among scientists, to use scientific names instead of common names (e. g. pumas commonly also called mountain lions or cougars).
(5-10 minutes)

2. Demonstrate making name tag.  Fold paper in half vertically, write name with chosen genus, and add one quick design.
(2 minutes)

3. Hand out construction paper for students to fold.
Meanwhile, show 4 options of genera, such as

  • Ardea for herons
  • Microtus for voles
  • Lontra for otters
  • Graptemys for map turtles

(5 minutes)

4. Have students write the genus of the animal they chose and then their own names (in lower case to match the species name) next to it. Have students then decorate their tags with drawn designs or taped pre-cut shapes.
(10-20 minutes)

5. If they choose, students may present their name tags to their classmates. This will allow them to see who else chose the same genus.
(10 minutes)

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