Translation | Explication | Classification | Description

What is a banana? Let’s classify it!

As mentioned on the Elaboration page, you are going to learn about four strategies for elaborating definitions. The third strategy is classification.

What is classification?

In its simplest formulation, this method involves identifying the major taxonomic groups (or ‘levels’) into which scientists have placed a living–or once living–organism. The classification method can be stated in four basic steps:

  1. Remember your target audience–recall which group of people you wish to understand your definition.
  2. Use classification tools to identify the Domain, Kingdom, Phylum (or Division), Order, Family, Genus, and species categories into which scientists currently place the organism.
  3. Use other classification tools to then translate as many of the Latin-looking category names as you can into short, simple traits that tell us more about the organism.
    • For example, look for information that tells others more about the organisms cells (or cell type), anatomy (body parts), food preferences, reproductive strategies, physical appearance, preferred/natural habitat, etc.
  4. Revise/rewrite your explicated definition by supplementing it with your newly acquired knowledge of how scientists classify the organism.
    • This new definition should now be more understandable to both you and the people in your target audience.

Some useful classification tools…


  1. Your teacher asks that you record all of your classification work in your Lab Notebook.
  2. Your classification work should be identified by a title that closely resembles the following example: Banana weeLAB™ – Classification
  3. Your final ‘classified’ definition should be boxed (i.e., enclosed in a neatly drawn rectangle) and labelled by a title placed just outside–and above–the top left corner of the box (the title should be “Classified definition”).
  4. Finally, you should perform a word count of your final classified definition and list this word count just outside–and under–the bottom right corner of the boxed definition.


Last updated: September 2019