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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 ecosystems, and the interactions between them. Living things are classified 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 program 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


The 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

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)

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