Introduction to the Five Kingdoms


This work can be given as a simple lesson for younger children as an introduction to living things and then given again in an expanded version to older children before their introduction to the Classification Charts. Refer to the book Parade of Life, published by Prentice Hall, for detailed information you or your children may be seeking on these animals.

…Picture of a moneran, protist, fungus, plant, animal


How many living things do you think there are in the world? It would be impossible to say, so to make things easy, biologists have divided them into five big kingdoms.

Bacteria is the oldest living thing on the earth. Bacteria is in the Moneran Kingdom. Bacteria are tiny organisms that can only be seen by a very high-powered microscope. Blue green algae from the Archaic Era 3.5 billion year ago was actually a bacteria. There are helpful and harmful bacteria in the world. Helpful bacteria makes yogurt. One type of harmful bacteria gives you strep throat.

Protists are one celled organisms. Like the bacteria, protists are very tiny and still need a microscope to be seen. Protists evolved about 1.5 billion years ago. The diatom, amoeba and algae are protists.

All fungi are organisms that cannot make their own food. They need to find energy and chemicals by growing on a source of food. Then they release chemicals on the food they are eating. This chemical works something like your digestive juices in your stomach. The chemical digests the food and the fungus re absorbs it. Yeast and mushrooms are types of fungus.

Plants are organisms that can make their own food. They have lots of cells that are very specialized. There are many kinds of plants from simple to very complex. Some plants that you know are mosses, ferns, algae, flowering plants.

Animals are many-celled organisms that have specialized tissues and organs. Animals must search for their own food. Their bodies will not manufacture it. There are many kinds of animals from very simple to very complex. They are divided into animals with a vertebral column or backbone and animals without one.

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