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Exploring marine life

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 3
  • Subjects: Science
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: World Museum


There are millions upon millions of organisms on the Earth, and such huge variety requires robust systems of classification and identification in order to research and understand life on our planet.

This session is led by an experienced member of the museum’s education team and introduces pupils to the basics of classification. It looks at how objects can be grouped according to similarities and differences.

Further details

demonstrator showing a starfish to some children© Mark McNulty

Using these principles we then go on to look at how keys can be constructed and used to identify organisms, Using live rock pool animals as an example we work through a simple example of how to identify an animal using a key.

Pupils then have time to work through our prepared worksheet to identify many of the live rock pool animals found in our aquarium with help and assistance from the aquarium staff.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 3 – Science

  •  Structure and function of living organisms
  •  Interactions and interdependencies including the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem and food webs and chains.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

 Pupils will:

  • Learn about how to recognize similarities and differences in organisms.
  • Learn how to classify objects based on similarities and differences.
  • Learn how to create keys based on classification.
  • Learn how to use a key to identify marine animals.


 Pupils will be introduced to:

  • Similarities and differences.
  • Classification.
  • Using Keys.
  • Identifying Organisms.


Pupils will:

  • Develop observation skills by looking at the anatomy of rock pool animals.
  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.
  • Learn how to use a key to identify marine animals.


 Pupils will

  • Enjoy a focused visit to the aquarium
  • Be inspired to take an interest in the natural world and our coastline.
  • Learn to understand that different animals live in different habitats and have key adaptations to help them survive.
  • Learn how to recognize some common animals in our local shores.