Shell Game

Two people sit on opposite sides of this exhibit, with identical trays of shells. One person picks a shell and marks it with a gray ring. The other person tries to figure out the partner’s shell by asking YES or NO questions, such as “Is the shell perfectly smooth?” Each answer allows the questioner to eliminate some of the shells in the tray, which can be marked with white rings. After a series of questions further define the shell the partner makes a guess. SHELL GAME illustrates that in order to study living things biologists must first sort and name them and then characterize them with features such as color, shape, size, etc., to tell one organism from another.