Species and taxonomy (AQA A-level Biology)

This engaging lesson covers the biological classification of a species, phylogenetic classification and the use of the binomial naming system. The PowerPoint and accompanying resources have been designed to cover point 4.5 of the AQA A-level Biology specification which is titled species and taxonomy.

The lesson begins by looking at the meaning of a population in Biology so that the term species can be introduced. A hinny, which is the hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey, is used to explain how these two organisms must be members of different species because they are unable to produce fertile offspring. Although the art of courting might be lost on humans in the modern world, the marabou stork is used as an example to show how courtship behaviour is an essential precursor to successful mating in most organisms. Students are encouraged to discuss other examples of courtship behaviour, such as the release of pheromones and birdsong, so that their knowledge and understanding is broad.
Moving forwards, students will learn that species is the lowest taxon in the modern-day classification hierarchy. A quiz runs throughout the lesson and this particular round will engage the students whilst they learn the names of the other 7 taxa and the horse and the donkey from the earlier example are used to complete the hierarchy. Students will understand that the binomial naming system was introduced by Carl Linnaeus to provide a universal name for each species and they will be challenged to apply their knowledge by completing a hierarchy for a modern-day human, by spotting the correct name for an unfamiliar organism and finally by suggesting advantages of this system.
The final part of the lesson briefly looks at how advances in genome sequencing and the comparison of common biological molecules has allowed the relationships between organisms to be clarified.

This is a detailed lesson and it is estimated that it will take around 2 hours of A-level teaching time to cover the content and therefore this specification point.

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  • Species-and-taxonomy.pptx
  • Classification-hierarchy-and-the-binomial-naming-system.docx
  • DATING-but-not-as-HUMANS-know-it.docx

About this resource


Created: Jan 16, 2020

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

pptx, 3 MB


docx, 15 KB


docx, 375 KB


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