Module 1: Science – looking at life

Section 1 : Classifying living things

Key Focus Question: How can you help pupils organise their observations of living things?

Keywords: classify; model; life cycle; animals; plants; research; group work

Learning outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • collected and displayed real items in a logical way in your classroom to support your pupils’ learning about grouping living things;
  • used model building as a way of recording what your pupils know about different plants and animals;
  • organised your pupils into pairs or small groups to undertake independent research projects on different life cycles.


Pupils need to grow up respecting and caring for our natural world; ideally, we all need to be naturalists. A naturalist is interested, observant, curious and values nature – someone who is learning about and caring for their world all the time. They have a clear, ‘big’ picture in their mind of how things work in nature. New observations will find a place in their big picture.

How do teachers help pupils achieve this big picture of how nature works? This section explores how you can help pupils organise and extend their knowledge about living things. You will bring real items into your classroom, organise displays, make models and undertake research with your pupils.

1. Classifying living things