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Classifying Living Things

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels


Classification is an important tool for understanding and organising the diverse range of organisms inhabiting our planet. Living things are classified based on the organism's observable traits. Traditionally, this process involves the utilization of tools like dichotomous keys. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a novel tool for classification has emerged, presenting exciting possibilities.

Key Learning Question

What tools can be used to classify living things and why do we do this?

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Learn the usefulness and limitations of various classification tools.
  • Learn how to construct a dichotomous key.
  • Learn how AI can be used when studying the environment.
  • Understand the basic concepts of Machine Learning (ML) and the steps to build a simple AI model for biological identification.

Note: Maximum number of students is 50 per day


The students will:

  • Use different keys and the Ecolinc Macro ID tool, to identify a range of macroinvertebrates.
  • Create a dichotomous key to identify different species of Eucalypts in the Ecolinc grassy woodland.
  • Use Teachable Machine to build a model that can be used as an identification tool.

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Biological sciences

  • There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)

Science – Recording and processing

  • Construct and use a range of representations including graphs, keys and models to record and summarise data from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and to represent and analyse patterns and relationships (VCSIS110)

Digital Technologies – Creating Digital Solutions

  • Define and decompose real-world problems, taking into account functional requirements and sustainability (economic, environmental, social), technical and useability constraints (VCDTCD040)
  • Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors (VCDTCD042)

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs. Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone. Students are encouraged to do the pre-learning course before coming to Ecolinc for an onsite program.

Learn Online Pre-program:

Kingdom Animalia