Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will think about how we group animals using common features. They will be guided on how to interpret worded information to be able to use a dichotomous key. Finally, they will use a dichotomous key on various organisms in small groups.

Learning intentions: 

  • Students understand that scientists look at certain features to group organisms
  • Students understand why a dichotomous key is used to group organisms based on similarities and differences
  • Students understand how to use a dichotomous key to classify organisms.

21st century skills: 

 Critical Thinking   Problem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Science

  • Classification helps organise the diverse group of organisms (ACSSU111)
  • Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (ACSIS125)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-14LW, SC4-5WS.

General capabilities: Literacy, Creative and Critical Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms and classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences. They summarise data from different sources.

Topic: STEM, Sustainability, Biodiversity.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Backyard Bush Blitz – Year 7.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate a whole-class class activity

Resources required:

Keywords: Dichotomous key, classification, taxonomy, Bush Blitz.

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery program run by EarthWatch who kindly provided the images in these lessons. Thank you to the Ian Potter Foundation and John T Reid Charitable Trusts for generously supporting the development of these lessons.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand that scientists look at certain features to group organisms
  • … understand why a dichotomous key is used to group organisms based on similarities and differences
  • … understand how to use a dichotomous key to classify organisms.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … interpret a paragraph of information to determine key characteristics
  • … use a dichotomous key to classify organisms
  • … work independently and collaboratively.

Teacher content information: It is estimated there are 435,000-510,000 undiscovered species in Australia. 45% of the land and over 90% of our marine areas have never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists. This leaves huge gaps in our knowledge about Australia’s biodiversity and the impacts of land use. Bush Blitz is a project that aims to categorise as many plant and animal species as possible, in order to protect our biodiversity by fostering sustainable land management. It doe

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Why is a shark more like a fish than a dolphin?

Flipped Classroom

Complete the following flipped classroom activity:

Step 1. Fill out the following table of vocabulary that will come up in the lesson. Tick which option most closely relates to your knowledge of the vocab word.

Vocabulary Word I have not seen this word I have seen this word I can use this word in a sentence I could teach the meaning of this word to another student
Organism
Species
Classification
Dichotomous
Abdomen (insect)
Elongated
Transparent

Step 2. For any words where you chose ‘I have not seen this word’ or ‘I have seen this word’, use a resource such as a dictionary, an adult, or a trusted classmate to find out the meaning of the word. Write the words and meanings below or in your exercise book if you need more space.

Step 3. For any words where you have chosen ‘I can use this word in

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