Teaching Primary Biology: Classification

Learn KS2 biology subject knowledge and teaching strategies that will engage pupils in the primary science national curriculum.

487 enrolled on this course

Teaching Primary Biology: Classification
  • Duration2 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

Enhance your KS2 biology classes with CPD from STEM learning

To teach primary science effectively primary education teachers must have sound subject knowledge, but many primary teachers are not science subject experts.

This course will equip you with the key subject knowledge required to effectively teach the biology elements of the primary science national curriculum, focusing on the topic of classification.

Develop your understanding of the classification of living things

Classification is how we group living things based on features, similarities, and differences.

You’ll build your personal knowledge of classification in order to effectively teach the biology content in the primary science curriculum to pupils aged 7-11.

Discover KS2 science activities for teaching classification

Through the course, you’ll explore common misconceptions about classification that children may have.

You’ll learn how to identify and help KS2 pupils overcome these misconceptions using practical teaching strategies and activities.

Get teacher CPD for teaching science in the primary national curriculum

The National STEM Learning Centre is the biggest provider of education, teacher CPD, and careers support in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

This course has been created by primary STEM subject specialists in collaboration with secondary science experts.

Your educating team are all experienced teachers themselves and all of the course content is developed using up-to-date research and insights.


  • Week 1

    An overview of classification

    • Why we classify living organisms

      Welcome to the course. As a primary teacher, having great subject knowledge will enable you to tackle misconceptions and confidently teach your science curriculum. What would you like to focus on in this course?

    • Creating a system

      Carl Linnaeus created the taxonomy system to classify and identify all living organisms. How would you classify all living things?

    • Classification in the primary curriculum

      In primary education, the focus for classification is plants and animals. We take a closer look at the features of each. How would you classify different species?

    • Classification isn't always easy

      In the final part of this week we look at some living things that are trickier to classify. We also ask what your highlight of the week has been and what you'll plan to look at next week.

  • Week 2

    Misconceptions about classification

    • Children’s misconceptions

      This week you'll be looking at classroom activities and teaching practices to elicit and address pupil misconceptions. First, we'll look at the importance of scientific vocabulary and practical work.

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      What activities would you use to find out what your pupils think and any misconceptions they might have about classification?

    • Reconstructing the learning

      Here we look at making and using classification keys and observing carefully to make identifications. How would you use these activities to address common misconceptions by challenging children’s ideas?

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you teach primary science. How has your practice and thinking changed during this course?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the importance of good subject knowledge when teaching primary science.
  • Develop personal subject knowledge of classification to teach this topic as part of the biology primary science curriculum.
  • Apply subject knowledge of biology to class teaching of pupils aged 5-11 years old.
  • Explore practical activities to teach scientific concepts in the primary curriculum.
  • Identify common misconceptions children may have in primary science concepts.
  • Develop teaching strategies to identify and overcome children’s misconceptions.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for primary teachers, trainee teachers, and teaching assistants for primary education (pupils aged 5-11 years) who want to develop their biology classification subject knowledge.

The course refers to the English National Curriculum, but teachers will be able to apply subject knowledge to their own curricula.

Who will you learn with?

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

I have been a primary school teacher for 13 years and work at Clifton With Rawcliffe Primary, York. Currently, I also work 3 days a week at the National STEM Learning Centre in the Primary PDL Team.

I am currently a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in Primary STEM. I have been a teacher for 14 years, teaching classes from FS2 to Year 6.

Hello! I’m Gemma, and I work as a Year 6 teacher at a primary school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. My subject specialisms are Primary Science and Working Scientifically.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Join this course

Start this couse for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.



Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks



Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible


$279.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year

Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.