Work samples


Year 7


Classifying animals

Summary of task

Students had investigated the role of classification in the biological sciences. After a visit to a local wildlife park, where students observed features and behaviours of Australian animals, they analysed how scientists develop hierarchical classification systems and reflected on the purpose of scientific classification of living organisms.

This work sample consists of two parts. In the first task, students were asked to discuss the function and purpose of scientific classification and research the correct taxonomic identification of an animal of their choice. Working in groups, they were asked to create a poster to present the results of their research together with their understandings of the nature and purpose of biological classification.

In the second task, students were asked to choose at least six of the Australian vertebrate land animals they had observed in the wildlife park. Using their own observations and additional research, students were asked to develop a dichotomous key that would allow them to identify each animal based on observable features. Working individually, students were asked to present their identification key in digital form along with a list of their chosen animals’ features and a brief description of how their key works. Students had been taught explicitly how to draw decision trees using a common software package.

Both tasks were performed as class activities over the course of two lessons.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 7, students describe techniques to separate pure substances from mixtures. They represent and predict the effects of unbalanced forces, including Earth’s gravity, on motion. They explain how the relative positions of Earth, the sun and moon affect phenomena on Earth. They analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems. They predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms and classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences. Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines and diverse cultures has been used to solve a real-world problem. They explain possible implications of the solution for different groups in society.

Students identify questions that can be investigated scientifically. They plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured. They select equipment that improves fairness and accuracy and describe how they considered safety. Students draw on evidence to support their conclusions. They summarise data from different sources, describe trends and refer to the quality of their data when suggesting improvements to their methods. They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.

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