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During last week of Term 2, Year 7 students visited the Museum of South Australia and University of South Australia to learn how biologists classify organisms and how to use a dichotomous key to determine the species of an organism.

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

At the University of South Australia, students were fortunate to attend a lecture by Mr Shaun O’Sullivan from the University’s biology department. Mr O’Sullivan explained some of the research that is currently being conducted at the University, such as tracking Australian spiders and how those studying at the University are involved in the process. Year 7 students were also given the opportunity to complete some practical work in the University’s laboratories, choosing three insects with which to classify using a dichotomous key. Students also had the opportunity to handle and classify skulls, and at the conclusion of the visit, viewed a cheetah skeleton in the process of being assembled, after it was donated by the Adelaide Zoo.

The classification excursion is an important part of the Science curriculum, helping students to build on their classroom learnings and understand how classification can be used in a real-world scenario. All students were actively engaged throughout the day and asked many thought provoking questions. Thank you to the Year 11 IB students for joining us on the excursion and assisting the Year 7 students with their tasks.

John Wright
Middle Years Science Coordinator