Identifying, classifying and grouping

Identifying and classifying key features:

  • children identify features or tests that help them distinguish between different things
  • enables children to learn the names of things, their characteristics, similarities and differences
  • enables things to be grouped by observable features


The Ogden Trust have a useful resource for developing Identifying and Classifying. You can download this here.

Possible enquiries

Simple grouping tasks, sorting by simple observable features such as colour, shape and size.

Year 1
Using real life examples/photographs to help children identify familiar plants
Identifying and naming parts of plants
Explore the local environment to name common wildlife
Explore properties of materials/characteristic of materials and name the material

Year 2
Sorting and classifying living things using specific criteria
Distinguish between evergreen and deciduous trees
Which clothes will keep us cool/warm on our trip to…?
Which materials should we use to make an umbrella?
Which materials are used to make particular objects?

Year 3
Grouping different rock types according to observable features such as grains or crystals.
Identify and group animals by features such as those with/without skeletons, how they move, what they eat.

Year 4
Identify and group vertebrate animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals and invertebrates such as snails, slugs, worms, spiders and insects.
Group and classify materials as solids, liquids or gases.

Year 5 
Compare and group everyday materials by characteristics such as hardness, solubility or transparency.
Identify and group the way in which sounds are made using a variety of musical instruments.

Year 6
Classify animals into commonly found groups and give reasons for their classification.
Use classification systems to identify plants and animals in the local environment.

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