Quick summary: During this lesson students explore dichotomous keys as a means for identifying and classifying living things. They begin by observing living things in the school yard. Following an introduction to dichotomous keys, students will create a key for living things found in the school yard. Finally, students will use the CSIRO Key to Invertebrates to identify invertebrates in the school yard and then create a poster/booklet about school mini-beasts.
This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.
We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.
- Students recognise different types of dichotomous keys and understand how we use these keys to identify organisms.
- Students understand how to use and create a dichotomous key.
- Students recognise how mini-beasts are an important part of our environment and identify actions we can take to conserve mini-beast habitats.
- Students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 7 Science
- Classification helps organise the diverse group of organisms (ACSSU111)
Syllabus outcomes: SC4-14LW.
General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.
Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences.
Topic: Outdoor learning, Climate change, Biodiversity.
Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.
Time required: 60 mins
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity.
Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Workbooks for recording information. Device capable of taking photos (optional). School yard dichotomous key. CSIRO Key to Invertebrates. Facebook Page (optional). Poster/booklet making materials (optional). Extension: Scientific Drawing Guidelines.
Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.
Keywords: Dichotomous key, identification, classification, organism, living things, outdoor learning.
Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.