Module 1: Secondary Science - Biology

Section 1 : Classification and adaptation

Theme: Probing students’ understanding

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • used brainstorming to probe students’ understanding of adaptations to different habitats;
  • planned questions at different ability levels to help students classify organisms they have found;
  • given students the opportunity to devise a key to demonstrate their understanding of the principles of classification.


At the end of teaching a topic, teachers usually set a test or exam to find out what the students have learned. They are often dismayed to find that it is not as much as they expected but by this time it is too late to help students. A good teacher will find out what students understand as they go along and what the students are finding difficult, and help them to make progress.

This unit has three short activities that will fit into your normal teaching about classification and adaptation and will show you how to find out what your students understand. The activities will encourage you to bring living organisms into your classroom and will help to develop your students’ understanding. Don’t worry – the activities won’t prevent you from finishing the syllabus; they are quite short and will help your students to learn. Once you have tried these activities, you will be able to adapt them when you teach other topics.

1. Creating a learning environment