Outstanding Science | Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

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KS2 - Year 6 - Living things and their habitats

Evolutionary taxonomyFree! 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A003

Children learn that evolutionary taxonomy is the most modern way of grouping organisms. They learn that it is a development of Linnaeus' system, but is superior because it shows how closely organisms are related to each other. Children group 5 mammals (including homo sapiens) into an evolutionary diagram. They use this to explain how closely related the other 4 mammals are to modern humans. They work out the binomial (genus-species) name for each organism.

  • 6a1: describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals
I can use taxonomy to explain how organisms are related to each other.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Evolutionary taxonomy

Making a classification key 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A001

Children learn that a dichotomous classification key has exactly two answers to each question. They use the 6 pictures of animals provided to create their own dichotomous classification key. Children discuss why some classification questions are better than others.

  • 6a1: describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals
I can make a dichotomous key and use it to classify organisms.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Making a classification key

Carl Linnaeus 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A002

Children learn that Carl Linnaues developed a classification system which placed organisms into hierarchical groups. They learn about binomial nomenclature. Children sort 20 different objects into Linnaeus' kingdoms. They discuss the elements from Linnaeus's system that we still use, those that we have abandoned, and why.

  • 6a1: describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals
I can explain how Linnaeus developed a classification system.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Carl Linnaeus

Vertebrates and invertebrates 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A004

Children learn that animals can be classified as vertebrates (those that have a spinal column) and invertebrates. They learn that verterbates have a common ancestor and comprise the fish and tetrapods. Children identify 18 organisms as vertebrates or invertebrates and place them in the correct sub-group (fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, arachnids, molluscs, worms).

  • 6a1: describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals
I can classify animals as vertebrates and invertebrates.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Vertebrates and invertebrates

Identifying arthropods using a key 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A005

Children learn that arthropods are a large and diverse phylum (group), comprising insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods. They learn that all arthropods have a segmented body, a hard exoskeleton, and jointed legs. Children use a dichotomous classification key to identify 10 different arthropods. They discuss why arthropods have certain body features in common.

  • 6a2: give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
I can identify familiar arthropods using a classification key.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Identifying arthropods using a key

Identifying trees using a key 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A006

Children learn that one way of identifying trees is by examining their leaves. They learn terms used to describe leaves, such as pinnate, palmate, simple, compound and lobed. Children look at the leaves of 5 different British trees and identify them using a dichotomous key. They discuss which of these trees they have seen in the local area.

  • 6a2: give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
I can identify some common British trees using a classification key.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Identifying trees using a key

Invertebrates in the local environment 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A007

Children choose 4 different local micro-habitats to investigate. They predict and then observe which types of invertebrate they might find in each micro-habitat, using the arthropod identification key provided. Children record their results in a table and then transfer their results to a bar chart. They discuss which micro-habitat is most diverse in terms of invertebrate population.

  • 6a2: give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
I can identify invertebrates in the local environment.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Invertebrates in the local environment

Trees in the local environment 

Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | OS6A008

Children choose an area in the local environment to study. Using the tree classification key provided, children complete a tally chart showing the frequency of each type of tree in the local area. They transfer their results to a bar chart.

  • 6a2: give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
I can identify trees in the local environment.
Outstanding Science Year 6 - Living things and their habitats | Trees in the local environment