First, a definition/explanation lifted from wikipedia:
Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification. The word finds its roots in the Greek τάξις, taxis (meaning 'order' or 'arrangement') and νόμος, nomos (meaning 'law' or 'science'). Taxonomy uses taxonomic units, known as taxa (singular taxon).
In addition, the word is also used as a count noun: a taxonomy, or taxonomic scheme, is a particular classification ("the taxonomy of ..."), arranged in a hierarchical structure. Typically this is organized by supertype-subtype relationships, also called generalization-specialization relationships, or less formally, parent-child relationships. In such an inheritance relationship, the subtype by definition has the same properties, behaviors, and constraints as the supertype plus one or more additional properties, behaviors, or constraints. For example: car is a subtype of vehicle, so any car is also a vehicle, but not every vehicle is a car. Therefore a type needs to satisfy more constraints to be a car than to be a vehicle. Another example: any shirt is also a piece of clothing, but not every piece of clothing is a shirt. Hence, a type must satisfy more parameters to be a shirt than to be a piece of clothing.
Representing a simpler "most general to most specific" hierarchy is relatively simple. items can be ordered vertically:
transportation (means of)
german sports cars
But what if you have a confusing set of items that are somehow related, but not easily ordered. How does one diagram such relationships?
In the list below, items appear in random order. (Well, not exactly random, maybe purposefully disorderly?) Your task is to bring order to this list—organize these terms—use some kind of graphic or chart to put them in some sensible order and then write a rationale that explains the relationships between the terms and your reasons for ordering them as you did. You may need to use geometric shapes, venn diagrams, different colors, different kinds of lines. But your chart or diagram should be logical and consistent.
walter (the old man's border collie mix)
jack (the old man's nova scotia duck tolling retriever--also called a little river duck dog)
clifford the big red dog
courage the cowardly dog
wile e. coyote