Jul 23

As a Primary Teacher in the Kimberley I have utilised ARKive’s resources over several years as the content is engaging and relevant to the knowledge base of my students; 77% of whom are Aboriginal from many different language groups across the Kimberley; an area three times the size of the UK.

I thought I would share a couple of examples of how I have used ARKive education resources and how they have worked for me and my students.

Keys and classification

Identification keys – sharks and raysWith the implementation of The Australian Curriculum I have found ARKive’s classification resources specifically meet the Year 7 Biological Science content descriptor ACSSU111 which states “There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity” (ACARA).

My students particularly enjoy the ‘Sharks and Rays Identification’ activities as our community is located on the edge of a crocodile infested tidal mangrove habitat and most students engage in recreational fishing and hunting activities. Students of all abilities are able to navigate the identification keys easily and the accompanying presentations on shark and ray identification and classification resources make the lesson preparation seamless. The other activities provided engage students over a series of lessons and I normally conclude the unit by getting my students out of the classroom with a visit to a Munkayarra Wetland. During the visit students use an identification key similar to the ARKive keys to identify macro invertebrates they collected.

Students using classification keys at Munkayarra Wetland © Barbara Sing

Students using classification keys at Munkayarra Wetlands

Human Impacts on the Environment

Human Impacts on the Environment education resourcesAlthough my students have some idea of the impact of plastic in the marine environment the ‘Human Impacts on the Environment’ resource was certainly an eye opener for many of them. The module explores the different ways humans can have negative impacts on the environment and endangered species. I recommend it highly as a resource for Sustainability, Science as a Human Endeavour and also Chemical Science.

Spreading the word

I easily keep up to date with new resources through the ARKive facebook page and share the resources with other teachers and environmental groups.

Thanks for providing a growing useable resource for teachers globally!

Barbara Sing Derby District High School (K-12), West Kimberley, Western Australia

  • Raja Ibrar Aajiz (July 23rd, 2013 at 5:56 pm):

    from where i can get classification key

  • lucie.muir (July 24th, 2013 at 1:09 pm):

    Hi Raja,

    You can get the keys from ARKive’s education resource pages. Please find the direct link to our sharks and ray resource here:

    Our Species Discovery resources also look at the use of keys for identifying frogs and toads. You can find this here:

  • Anne (January 28th, 2014 at 11:13 pm):

    Hello Barbara,

    I really enjoyed reading this guest blog from you.

    Although the post was about classification resources, I do want to add a comment about your approach to teaching.

    You are absolutely right to make science relevant to your students. When this is done the student is more likely to engage in it and carry the information with them for the rest of the lives.

    I speak from experience: I was taught science by an amazing teacher that took us out of the classroom and engaged all of us in the process. I have fond memories of it. Then I moved to the city, and had a science teacher dictate science to me in such a way that was demeaning and overly political.

    I lost interest in science as a result and have never thought of it again. Reading your post reminds me of my old country teacher…

    Thank you.