What makes a mammal a mammal? In Discover Classification, students will discover the science of classification. Students will see, touch and investigate real animal skins, bones and eggs belonging to each of the five vertebrate groups (and some invertebrates!), to identify the common features of each group. They can then apply their knowledge to identify and classify a live animal by studying its features.
Age group: Year 3-6 (KS2, Ages 7-11), Year 7-9 (KS3, Ages 11-14)
Duration: 35-45 minutes
Capacity: 35 students
Learning Space: Education Centre
National Curriculum links:
Year 4 programme of study (2014)
Living things and their habitats
- Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
Year 6 programme of study (2014)
Living things and their habitats
- Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, plants and animals
- Give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics
KS3 Science - programme of study (2014)
Analysis and evaluation
- interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements and data to draw conclusions
Genetics and evolution
Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes
- the variation between species and between individuals of the same species meaning some organisms compete more successfully, which can drive natural selection
Intended learning outcomes:
Students will be able to:
- Understand that classification means to group similar things together and that in science this is used to group living things
- Identify the key features of the five vertebrate groups
- Discuss reasons why living things are placed in one group and not another
- Apply their understanding to classify a range of unusual animals
Many objects from the natural world used in this session are loaned to us by HM Revenue and Customs.
Please be aware that though we aim to use a live animal in this session, we do not guarantee that they will be present – animals can fall ill or be unwilling to be handled and their welfare is ZSL’s first priority.
For this session
Before your visit:
- Use this Discover Classification information sheet: Pre-visit session info - Discover Classification 2015 (597.03 KB)
- Ask students to consider the following animals and list as many similarities and differences between them as they can: tiger, frog, snake, parrot, spider, shark.
While at the Zoo:
- Use the activities in this Discover Classification information sheet onsite as part of your visit: Pre-visit session info - Discover Classification 2015 (597.03 KB)
- Take photographs of animals that belong to the different animal groups, to use for activities back at school (see below).
- Visit B.U.G.S! (map ref. C7) and try to find an animal from each of the animal groups. Make drawings of or notes on their most important features. Here are some animals you might find:
|Group||Animals to find in B.U.G.S.|
|Mammals||Naked mole rat|
|Fish||Coral reef tank - clown fish|
After your visit:
- Make a key for identifying the animals at the Zoo, considering their similarities and differences. Photos taken during the trip could be used to enhance the key.