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Science Lesson Idea For Teaching Classification

A couple of weeks ago my Little Miss Two and I had fun completing a classification science lesson. I didn’t call it a science lesson to Little Miss Two, but…

A couple of weeks ago my Little Miss Two and I had fun completing a classification science lesson. I didn’t call it a science lesson to Little Miss Two, but rather a nature collage.

Firstly, we went around the garden and collected different parts of nature, such as leaves, flowers, sticks and other items we found on the ground in the garden.

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Collecting items for the nature collage

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Collecting more items.

As you can see in the pic above, Little Miss Two’s friend, Georgia had to help.

We then used these to attach to a clear sheet of contact to make a collage. I had seen this idea floating around on Pinterest. You stick a clear sheet of contact up on a window, then you can stick different craft items (like wool, cellophane, paper etc) to make a collage. I thought it would work just as well with nature. Then when it is complete, to protect it, you would stick another sheet of contact over the top.

To make this idea into a simple classification lesson, I added some different categories to the sheet of contact. I used very simple words that I knew Little Miss Two knew, including: pink, flowers, green, sticks and leaves.

I had to direct Little Miss Two quite a bit with this activity and explain what each word meant. Once she had a handle on that she enjoyed deciding where she would stick each item. I would ask Miss Two what each item was and what colour, and then we worked out where she wanted to attach it.

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Sticking on the first item

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This time her friend Chloe is helping to attach the items

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Starting to get a bit tired

It was fun to watch her try and decide where to put the pink flowers as she had both categories listed. So some went around pink, and some went around the flowers.

Towards the end Little Miss Two got quite tired, so then items got stuck anywhere.

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Nearly finished

To finish off the activity we added the other sheet of contact over the top. We then went and stuck it up on Little Miss Two’s wall in her bedroom. Every time we go in there she points out all the different things she collected.

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All finished and proudly hanging in the bedroom

How You Can Use This Idea As A Science Lesson

This idea can easily be adapted for the classroom and is ideal for primary students.

What Is Classification

Classification involves the arrangement of objects in to similar categories. Objects with similar characteristics are placed in the same category. Classification can range from simple exercises to more difficult tasks helping develop the student’s ‘cognitive structures.’

You could use classification for plants and animals and have students classify according to their internal and external features. For example: green, non-green, legs, no legs, one stomach, more than one stomach. Students can also classify according to characteristics that can be visually detected and characteristics that cannot be visually detected, helping to draw on the student’s prior knowledge.

Below outlines how to conduct a simple classification lesson.


Students investigate how classification of objects occurs and what criteria could be used in helping to classify objects.

Equipment Required For The Investigation

  • Sheets of clear contact;
  • Access to different types of leaves;
  • Coloured paper;
  • Marker pens; and
  • Personal items of students (e.g. stationery, books, piece of clothing etc).


1. Students work in small groups of 4 or 5.

2. Each person in the group contributes two different personal items.

3. Students select one property that the items either have or do not have and classify the items in two piles according to the one property. Some examples of properties could include: colour, shape, soft, hard, large, small.

4. Students select another property to divide the two groups into and subdivide the two piles according to the new property. This is called a binomial classification, which is the placing of objects in groups and identifying why each item is in that group. The groups can be further subdivided.

5. Now that students have had practice at simple classification they can form partners and collect six different leaves.

6. Remind students to pick leaves from plants that have ample amount of leaves and try not to destroy the plants.

7. Get the pairs to now form a group with two other pairs.

8. Have students see how many different leaves are in their group.

9. Students use a binomial classification system to sort their leaves.

10. When they have sorted their leaves, they can then stick the leaves in their categories to the large sheet of clear contact for display.

11. Students write on the coloured paper to label the display according to their classification.

12. Students stick another sheet of contact over the top to protect it.


Have your students present their classification to the remainder of the class and discuss what categories they used to help them classify. Finish with each student drawing a copy of their Leaf Classification, correctly labelling each part.

Below is an example of a leaf classification that one of my middle primary groups came up with.

Leaf Classification

Diagram of leaf classification


I hope this has given you an idea of how you could conduct a classification science lesson in your class.


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