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Identifying, grouping and classifying

These enquiries allow pupils to engage in activities to help them make sense of how the world is organised. They organise a range of objects or events into manageable sets and then name them.

There are lots of things the children could sort and classify depending on the particular topic you are studying. Perhaps you could ask them to look for materials around the home and choose a way of sorting the materials. For younger children you may need to decide the categories for them, such as rough and smooth, or waterproof and not-waterproof materials, or objects that are opaque, transparent and translucent.

This can be extended for older children by asking them to create a branching diagram to identify something they are interested in. There are lots out there available for natural things such as leaves or the plants in their garden. Then they upload the diagram to the class sharing platform and other children have a go at using it to identify different things.

Children can learn more about classification with these BBC Bitesize Daily videos. Alternatively, you could use the video to recap prior learning, or as a hook to introduce the enquiry.

5-7 animals and design

7-9 animals and design

9-11 animals and design


You can turn classifying into a game by setting a treasure hunt where the children have to take photos or make lists of the things they find based on a particular theme, for example: light sources in your home. They then upload these to the shared platform you are using.

In the comments below, share an idea for a sorting or classifying investigation, and what age group and topic it is for.

How could you gamify the learning?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science

National STEM Learning Centre