Year 7 Science – What is Life?

This amazing creature has been drawn based on fossils and named Hatzegopteryx – it is thought to be one of the largest flying animals of all time! It had hollow bones,  which meant that it weighed only about one sixth of the weight of a giraffe.

Learning Intention: To understand that living organisms share some common characteristics, despite their diversity. The differences within and between groups helps us organize and classify organisms.

Success Criteria: You will be able to list five characteristics of living organisms, name the five Kingdoms that all living organisms are grouped into and the five classes of vertebrates. You will also be able to discuss why we organize living things into groups and how this system has changed over time.

There is an amazing diversity of life on the planet – and we have evidence of even stranger organisms that are now extinct. What do all living things have in common? Draw up a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles. Add a dog to one, a robot to another and fire to the third. What do these three things have in common? What is different?

We will discuss your answers and decide on the five characteristics of all living organisms. We will also create a dichotomous key using a variety of different sweets and lollies. A dichotomous key is a hierarchical, branching tool that is used to identify organisms.


Creating a Dichotomous Key


Learning Intention:
Students will understand how a dichotomous key is used to classify and identify organisms in the living world.
Success Criteria:
Each student will produce a digital or paper-based key that uses objective, yes/no questions to identify lollies from a mixture.
Year 7 students are doing a unit on Classification of Living Organisms and learning how to create a dichotomous key. A dichotmous key is what scientists and taxonomists use to identify living organisms. We used mixed lollies and asked the following yes/no, objective questions:

1. Is it hard?
2. Is it circular in shape?
3. Does it have a hole in the middle?
4. Is it sugar-coated?
5. Does it contain chocolate?

Here is one that Sophie created using


Classification for Year 7 Science

Learning Intention: This week we will learn about how scientists use a system of classification to identify and order living organisms in our world.
Success Criteria: You will produce a poster, slideshow or blog post that demonstrates your understanding of the five kingdoms of living organisms, including at least three examples of each group. You will need to list several characteristics for each kingdom.

You have several options to choose from:

1. Create a Glogster poster that shows each of the five kingdoms (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and Protista) with 3 pictures for each kingdom, so a minimum of 15 pictures.

2. Create a slideshow with six slides – title slide and one slide for each kingdom with 3 examples of each group.

3. Go to Encarta on your netbook and complete the activities in the “Living World” area – write a blog post about what you learnt about how living organisms are classified.

4. Read pages 188 to 189 in your text and complete the “Remember” and “Think” questions.

5. Create a paper poster as for option 1.