Classification teaching resources
Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about classification (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Where to start?
Ask students to group (classify) a range of different utensils as either spoons, forks or knives. Include some tricky examples e.g. pasta forks, sporks, chop sticks. Discuss how students arrived at their decisions and consider why classifying objects is useful in every day life e.g. to find things in super markets or to find possible replacements when the ideal is not available.
The ‘address’ of an organism: binomial names
Write the school address and the address of a nearby pizza restaurant on the board. Then write out each taxonomic rank for a rat and a grey squirrel to the species level. How are the structures of addresses and taxonomic hierarchies similar and different? How do group sizes change?
How to classify organisms using the five kingdoms
GCSE activity on the main features of the five kingdoms. Students are given a ‘pet’ organism to research. They meet with other class members to discuss their ‘pet’ and answer questions written on the board. This activity allows students to practice and develop their oracy. It is based on a lesson produced by Sophie Metcalf. (PDF)
GCSE worksheet on classifying organisms using the five Kingdoms (made in collaboration with Terry Baylis). This challenging activity reinforces the key features of the five kingdoms and presents students with an organism to classify. Students use their powers of reasoning to justify which kingdom the organism belongs to. (PDF)
Why do we want to classify organisms?
GCSE worksheet on the importance of classification. This serves as a good introduction to taxonomy. It shows the importance of plant taxonomy in the fight against human diseases. Here, we look at how taxonomy played a vital role in the production of anti-cancer drug Taxol. (PDF)