On 22 June 2017, the Year 7 boys attended a classification excursion in which the students attended both the University of South Australia and the Museum of South Australia. The excursion is part of the Science Curriculum in which students learn how Biologists classify organisms into different groups and how to use a dichotomous key to determine the species of an organism.

At the Museum of South Australia students went on a self-guided tour of the Biodiversity floor where they learnt some interesting facts about Australian mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish. During this time, students worked in small groups in order to complete an animal treasure hunt and a classification competition.

The highlight of the excursion was the time spent at the University of South Australia. The students attended a thirty minute lecture from a member of the University’s Biology staff, Shaun O’Sullivan. Mr O’Sullivan explained some of the research that is conducted at the University such as tracking Australian spiders and how University students are involved in the process. After a brief talk, students completed some practical work in the university laboratory. Students were asked to choose three insects and classify them using a dichotomous key, and also had the opportunity to handle skulls from Australian Mammals and identify the species of mammal. The students were engaged with all tasks and asked many thought provoking questions regarding classification. At the conclusion of the visit, students were able to view a complete cheetah skeleton that Mr O’Sullivan has been assembling after the cheetah was donated by the Adelaide Zoo.

The students had an excellent day and represented the school with pride. Students came home with an increased understanding for classification, and some great examples of how it can be used in a real world scenario.

John Wright
Year 7 Mentor – Senior School Science Teacher

Students on the self-guided tour of the Museum of South Australia

Students working on their excursion booklet at the University of South Australia

Students working in the University laboratory

Banner photo: Students classify insects at the University of South Australia