Life Systems

Classification of Living Things

Overall Expectations:

  1. assess human impacts on biodiversity, and identify ways of preserving biodiversity;

  2. investigate the characteristics of living things, and classify diverse organisms according

    to specific characteristics;

  3. demonstrate an understanding of biodiversity, its contributions to the stability of natural systems, and its benefits to humans.

Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

By the end of Grade 6, students will:

1.1 analyse a local issue related to biodiversity (e.g., the effects of human activities on urban biodiversity, flooding of traditional Aboriginal hunting and gathering areas as a result of dam construction), taking different points of view into consideration (e.g., the points of view of members of the local community, business own- ers, people concerned about the environment, mine owners, local First Nations, Métis, Inuit), propose action that can be taken to preserve biodiversity, and act on the proposal

Sample issue: A local forest is slated to be cut down to make room for a new shopping plaza.

Sample guiding questions: What are the positive and negative aspects of the issue (e.g., a commu- nity will have access to goods and services in the new shopping plaza that were not there before; getting the land for the shopping plaza means losing a local forest)? Who might have differing opinions on this issue? Why? What are some things that you might do as an indi- vidual, or that we might do as a class, to make others aware of the issues and concerns

(e.g., write a letter to the local newspaper, the mayor, or the Member of Parliament; design and hang awareness posters in the community)?

1.2 assess the benefits that human societies derive from biodiversity (e.g., thousands of products such as food, clothing, medicine, and building materials come from plants and animals) and
the problems that occur when biodiversity is diminished (e.g., monocultures are more vulner- able to pests and diseases)

Sample issue: Monoculture systems on farms allow crops to be grown in the soil that is best for them. But monoculture systems reduce diversity, and so more soil and pest problems result. In turn, farmers apply more chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which pollute
the land, the water, and the food they are producing.

Developing Investigation and Communication Skills

By the end of Grade 6, students will:

2.1 follow established safety procedures for out- door activities and field work (e.g., stay with a partner when exploring habitats; wash hands after exploring a habitat)

2.2 investigate the organisms found in a specific habitat and classify them according to a classi- fication system

2.3 use scientific inquiry/research skills (see
page 15) to compare the characteristics of organisms within the plant or animal kingdoms (e.g., compare the characteristics of a fish and

a mammal, of coniferous and deciduous trees, of ferns and flowering plants)

Sample guiding questions: What are the cri- teria you will use to compare organisms? Why are these good criteria to use to com- pare the organisms? How might the criteria change if you picked two different organ- isms? Why is it important to be able to com- pare organisms in some organized way?

2.4 use appropriate science and technology vocab- ulary, including classification, biodiversity, nat- ural community, interrelationships, vertebrate, invertebrate, stability, characteristics, and organ- ism, in oral and written communication

2.5 use a variety of forms (e.g., oral, written, graphic, multimedia) to communicate with different audiences and for a variety of purposes

(e.g., use a graphic organizer to show comparisons between organisms in various communities) DevelopingInvestigationand Communication Skills

Understanding Basic Concepts

By the end of Grade 6, students will:

3.1 identify and describe the distinguishing char- acteristics of different groups of plants and animals (e.g., invertebrates have no spinal column; insects have three basic body parts; flowering plants produce flowers and fruits), and use these characteristics to further classify various kinds of plants and animals (e.g., inver- tebrates – arthropods – insects; vertebrates – mammals – primates; seed plants – flowering plants – grasses)

  1. 3.2 demonstrate an understanding of biodiversity as the variety of life on earth, including variety within each species of plant and animal, among species of plants and animals in communities, and among communities and the physical landscapes that support them

  2. 3.3 describe ways in which biodiversity within species is important for maintaining the resilience of those species (e.g., because of genetic differences, not all squirrels are affected equally by infectious diseases such as mange; some species of bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics because resistant individuals have survived and reproduced)

  3. 3.4 describe ways in which biodiversity within and among communities is important for maintaining the resilience of these communi- ties (e.g., having a variety of species of wheat allows for some part of the crop to survive adverse conditions)

3.5 describe interrelationships within species
(e.g., wolves travel in packs to defend their territory, raise their cubs, and hunt large prey), between species (e.g., the brightly-coloured anemone fish protects its eggs by laying them among the poisonous tentacles of the sea anemone, and in return the fish’s bright colours attract prey for the anemone to eat; birds and bees take

sustenance from plants and carry pollen between plants), and between species and their envi- ronment (e.g., algae and water lilies compete
for sunlight in a pond)
, and explain how these interrelationships sustain biodiversity

3.6 identify everyday products that come from a diversity of organisms (e.g., traditional pain relievers are derived from the bark of the white willow tree; tofu is made from soybeans; silk is made from silkworm cocoons; nutritional sup- plements, shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorants contain pollen collected by bees)

3.7 explain how invasive species (e.g., zebra mus- sel, Asian longhorned beetle, purple loosestrife) reduce biodiversity in local environments

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Classification Of Living Things

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What Is Biodiversity?

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