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

Learning objective

I can use taxonomy to explain how organisms are related to each other.

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
Evolutionary taxonomy is the most modern way of grouping organisms. it is a development of Linnaeus' system, but is superior because it shows how closely organisms are related to each other.
Taxonomic ranks include domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.
All life on Earth is descended from one common ancestor.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Making a classification key Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can make a dichotomous key and use it to classify organisms.

Children 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
A dichotomous classification key has exactly two answers to each question.
A dichotomous key can be created by starting with one set and asking questions to repeatedly divide the set.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Carl Linnaeus Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can explain how Linnaeus developed a classification system.

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
Carl Linnaeus developed a classification system which placed organisms into hierarchical groups.
Linnaeus invented binomial (two-name) nomenclature.
Evolutionary taxonomy, not Linnaean taxonomy, is the most modern taxonomic system.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Vertebrates and invertebrates Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can classify animals as vertebrates and invertebrates.

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
Animals can be broadly classified as vertebrates (those that have a spinal column) and invertebrates.
All vertebrates have a common ancestor and comprise the fish and tetrapods.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Identifying arthropods using a key Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can identify familiar arthropods using a classification key.

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.
Arthropods are a large and diverse phylum (group) of invertebrates, comprising insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods.
All arthropods have a segmented body, a hard exoskeleton, and jointed legs.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Identifying trees using a key Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can identify some common British trees using a classification key.

Children look at the leaves of 5 different trees common to the British isles 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.
Trees can be identified by examining their leaves.
Terms used to describe leaves include pinnate, palmate, simple, compound and lobed.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Invertebrates in the local environment Worksheet

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

Learning objective

I can identify invertebrates in the local environment.

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.
Not all species of invertebrate may be present in nearby micro-habitats.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science

Trees in the local environment Investigation

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

Learning objective

I can identify trees in the local environment.

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.
Some species of trees have been introduced from elsewhere by humans.
Conifers are gymnosperms. This means that they reproduce sexually and produce seeds but do not form flowers.
Year 6 Living things and their habitats | Outstanding Science