Contemporary Science:

Classifying organisms and taxonomy

Teaching sequences are aligned with the Victorian Curriculum Levels 7 & 8 Science


This resource has been developed to support teachers in their endeavor to bring contemporary science from scientists in the field into the classroom, specifically in lower secondary. The teaching sequence outlines a 5 lesson sequence with activities which allow for extension when learning about the taxonomic classification hierarchy and binomial nomenclature of organisms.

Cletocythereis caudispinosa

Image reproduced with kind permission from Mark Warne; the copyright owner.

Neonesidea australis

Image reproduced with kind permission from Mark Warne; the copyright owner.

Images of Ostracod Shells taken from rocks in coastal cliffs along the Victorian coastline; taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope.

Teaching Sequence for biological science understanding :

  • There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091).
  • Science knowledge and understanding changes as new evidence becomes available; Science knowledge can develop through collaboration and connecting ideas across the disciplines and practice of science (VCSSU089).
  • Science and technology contribute to creating solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations VCSSU090).

Student involvement in science inquiry :

  • Analysing and Evaluating - Use scientific knowledge and understanding from investigations to identify relationships, evaluate claims and draw conclusions (VCSIS112).
  • Recording and processing - Construct and use a range of representations including graphs, keys and models to record and summarise data from students' own investigations and secondary sources, and to represent and analyse patterns and relationships (VCSIS110).
Mark Science Interest anecdote.mp4

Mark Warne and how his science education shaped his future.

Why introduce field science into the classroom?

The Victorian Curriculum Science as a human endeavour Sub-strand states that science understanding about the world around us changes as new evidence becomes available, therefore including modern science studies in classwork is intuitive for the next generation of students.

Aim of website : To link scientists and their research in real life settings to teachers and their classrooms, in a way which is not onerous of the scientist, yet supports the teacher.

Mark Warne Oceanography Research.mp4

Why a unit on classification systems?

Mark Warne is a scientist who has made it his life's work to study geology in ancient seabed strata. His research in paleobiology has enabled him to study a marine invertebrate, the Ostracod in its many speciations, which helped him to recognise its uses in paleoceanography - the study of ocean currents. Mark has analysed and classified this small crustacean to assist in understanding Australian ocean currents, global warming patterns and changes in fossils over time. With tens of thousands of different species of this small creature it shows the importance of classifying biodiversity and understanding the identification of new species.