Vertebrates and invertebrates

Home learning focus

Explore the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.

This lesson includes:

  • three videos
  • four activities to develop the learning


Animals can be classified as either vertebrates or invertebrates.

Watch this film to find out what an invertebrate is.

Invertebrates are animals that don't have a backbone.

Some have soft bodies, like worms, slugs and jellyfish.

Invertebrates, like insects, spiders and crustaceans, have a hard outer casing called an exoskeleton.

This protects their body a bit like a suit of armour.

However, as they grow, animals have to shed and produce a new one as they get bigger - like a new set of clothes.

This short film looks at how animals grow new skeletons.

A bronze bug has grown out of its old skeleton, so it wriggles out and waits for its new skeleton to harden in the sun.


Watch this video to find out what a vertebrate is.

Vertebrates are animals that have a backbone inside their body.

The major groups include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.


There are lots of fun ways to try out your science skills:

Activity 1

Sort the animals

Have a go at sorting the animals into invertebrates and vertebrates.

Activity 2

Take the quiz.

Activity 3

Go on a spider safari at home and learn more about invertebrates and vertebrates.

Explore more Science Fun at Home resources from the Primary Science Teaching Trust.

Science fun at home worksheet

Activity 4

Explore vertebrates and invertebrates further with quizzes and interactive activities.

Take it further with Seneca.

Vertebrates and invertebrates

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS2 Science
7-11 Science
Science on CBBC
Play Bitesize games
Watch Deadly 60 on iPlayer