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Understand the Classification of Living Things

In this worksheet, students will describe how, as scientific technology and awareness have evolved, so has the way biologists organise the living things around us. This should leave the pupil with a solid understanding of the classification of organisms.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

There are so many different creatures and plants on this planet, that scientists have spent years trying to organise them.

 


This is called classification: the organisation of different organisms into groups.


One of the earliest ways that scientists categorised species was designed by Carl Linnaeus in the 1700s:

 

He created the Linnaean system, which divides living things by the characteristics that make them unique from each other, starting with kingdoms - like the plant kingdom versus the animal kingdom.

 

Afterwards, the groups get more specific:

 

Kingdom ⇒ Phylum ⇒ Class ⇒ Order ⇒ Family ⇒ Genus ⇒ Species!

 

Here are some easy ways to remember the order:

 

 

However, over time, inventions like the microscope increased scientific understanding about structures inside organisms and how they are made to be so unique.

 

This meant scientists realised they needed to start organising living things in a different way.


It seems like lots of Carls have an interest in biology, because, in the 1990s, Carl Woese classified beings using a ‘three-domain system’, which uses 3 groups called domains as headings:

 

Archaea (primitive bacteria)

 

Bacteria

 

Eukaryote (protists, fungi, plants and animals)

 

 

Now let's have a go at answering some classification questions!

 

Note: Jot down any descriptions or explanations that help you understand key concepts, to help you now and during revision!

Archaea are a part of which classification system, the Linnaean or the three-domain system?

 

 

Column A

Column B

Linnaean System
No
Three-Domain System
Yes

Answer the question below by selecting one correct answer:

 

How many domains are in Carl Woese's classification model from the 1990's?

3

4

7

8

Before the more modern systems of classification, Archaea were initially thought to be what?

 

Which of these is a eukaryote?

 

[Choose two options below]

Animals

Bacteria

Fungi

What key development in science helped improve scientific understanding and contributed to modern classification? 

The flowchart below shows the Linnaean system of classification. Use a capital letter for your answer.

What is the definition of classification?

Grouping organisms into classes, based on their natural locations

The sorting of varying beings into a hierarchy of size

The organisation of different organisms into groups

Put these organisms in order of relation, starting with the pair that is the most closely related.

Column A

Column B

1. Most Closely Related
Yeast and Mould in the fungi kingdom
2.
The Giant Panda and Polar Bears in the ursidae fam...
3. Least Closely Related
Great White Sharks in the carcharias species

Fill in the blanks in the sentence below.

Column A

Column B

1. Most Closely Related
Yeast and Mould in the fungi kingdom
2.
The Giant Panda and Polar Bears in the ursidae fam...
3. Least Closely Related
Great White Sharks in the carcharias species

Looking back at an organism's classification can tell us a lot about their what?

 

  • Question 1

Archaea are a part of which classification system, the Linnaean or the three-domain system?

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Linnaean System
No
Three-Domain System
Yes
EDDIE SAYS
The three-domain system separates living things into archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes.
  • Question 2

Answer the question below by selecting one correct answer:

 

How many domains are in Carl Woese's classification model from the 1990's?

CORRECT ANSWER
3
EDDIE SAYS
It's important to not get confused between the Linnaean system and Woese's model! Carl Woese proposed the 'three-domain system', with three domains or categories as the main way of separating organisms by their characteristics.
  • Question 3

Before the more modern systems of classification, Archaea were initially thought to be what?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Primitive Bacteria
EDDIE SAYS
This question is being quite picky with detail, but it's an important point to appreciate! Archaea were initially thought to be primitive bacteria, but now we know they are a form of single-cell organisms with no nucleus for their DNA, like bacteria are, although the two groups have some other important properties that are not the same. Archaea are considered to live in extreme areas like hot springs but can also live where bacteria live.
  • Question 4

Which of these is a eukaryote?

 

[Choose two options below]

CORRECT ANSWER
Animals
Fungi
EDDIE SAYS
The three-domain system separates living things into archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes. Eukaryote is the umbrella term for everything else, i.e. animals, plants, protists, and fungi.
  • Question 5

What key development in science helped improve scientific understanding and contributed to modern classification? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Microscope
The microscope
EDDIE SAYS
It is important to know that, as time has gone on, scientists have learnt more about how organisms actually differ from each other through new biological theories and technological advancements, like the microscope. This invention especially has improved our understanding of how organisms work on the inside, which scientists have used to improve their classification models.
  • Question 6

The flowchart below shows the Linnaean system of classification. Use a capital letter for your answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The Linnaean system is a traditional form of classification proposed in the 1700s and involving the above 7 categories. The more categories two beings share, the more closely related they are. For example, the animals in the same kingdom are distantly related, whilst organisms in the same genus are very closely related.
  • Question 7

What is the definition of classification?

CORRECT ANSWER
The organisation of different organisms into groups
EDDIE SAYS
Did you remember the definition? Classification refers to the categorical organisation of living organisms to help establish the relationships between living things, but also to help us highlight their differences.
  • Question 8

Put these organisms in order of relation, starting with the pair that is the most closely related.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1. Most Closely Related
Great White Sharks in the carchar...
2.
The Giant Panda and Polar Bears i...
3. Least Closely Related
Yeast and Mould in the fungi king...
EDDIE SAYS
This question is all about knowing the order of the Linnaean system of classification and what it represents. If two organisms share 3 consecutive groups, they are less closely related than two organisms who share 6 groups. Take the above options, for example - yeast and mould are the least related because they only share a kingdom, after that they are in different categories from each other. However, the Giant Panda and the Polar Bears share the same labels up to the Ursidae Family, which is 5th in the Linnaean system. This means they are more closely related than yeast and mould, because they are classified into 5 of the same categories. Great White Sharks are the most related as they all belong to the same 7 categories, finishing in the Carcharias species. Well done on this topic, and don't forget to have another look at the introduction if you still feel like you need a little more work on classification!
  • Question 9

Fill in the blanks in the sentence below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How are you getting on? The understanding of internal characteristics helped advance the traditional classification systems. For example, allowing us to differentiate between archaea and bacteria.
  • Question 10

Looking back at an organism's classification can tell us a lot about their what?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
heritage
ancestry
EDDIE SAYS
A lot can be shown about an organism's heritage through its classification, especially about its close relations. For example, dogs and wolves are under the same genus of 'Canis', even though they belong to different species. This shows they are very closely related, which explains why they have many similar characteristics.
---- OR ----

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