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Classifying living things

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels


Wetlands are among the most productive and diverse ecological systems on earth. They support an enormous variety of plants and animals, such as water birds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and invertebrates. Grassy woodlands are another diverse ecosystems which include a number of different plant species, including trees, shrubs and grasses, which provide habitat for a number of animals such as reptiles, mammals, birds and invertebrates.

Both these ecosystems are represented in the habitat at Ecolinc. Classification is an important tool for understanding and organising the variety of organisms that inhabit these ecosystem, and the interactions between them. Living things are classified into groups based on their structural and functional similarities or differences. At Ecolinc you will investigate the wetland and grassy woodland ecosystems to explore classification systems for the animal and plant kingdoms.

Key Learning Question

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

Learning Intentions

In this progam students will:

  • Learn the usefulness and limitations of various classification tools.
  • Learn how to construct a dichotomous key.
  • Understand the importance of classification and its applications.


Students will:

  • Use different keys and the Ecolinc Macro ID tool to identify a range of macroinvertebrates.
  • Use technology to identify different species and compare their relatedness. create a dichotomous key to identify different species of Ecolinc’s Eucalypts.

Learn Online

Ecolinc Learn Online is a virtual outreach learning management system (LMS) 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 on Ecolinc Learn Online called Kingdom Animalia prior to coming to Ecolinc. Kingdom Animalia explores the classification system used to identify animals and moves quickly beyond the acquisition of knowledge to higher level thinking. Students will apply learnt information to solve a series of drag & drop and multiple choice quizzes and then create their own species.

Victorian Curriculum

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