Life Cycle - Organisms (1A)

  • Discovering requirements of living objects.
  • Comparing living and non-living objects.
  • characteristic
  • living
  • non-living
  • living and non-living objects

Students determine the nature of objects.


Living things are sensitive to their environment. Non-living objects are not. For example, let us suppose that a grain of sand and a seed lie side by side in the ground. Let's now suppose that the earth becomes warmed by the Sun and moistened by the rain. The seed will respond by sprouting and in time will become a plant or a tree. The grain of sand however, remains the same. It may have moved a bit by wind or rain, but it hasn't changed in appearance in any way. The seed, unlike the grain of sand has reacted to the environment by growing.

Living things also respond to internal changes. For example, you quickly pull your hand away from a hot iron because of an impulse or feeling.

Living things are able to reproduce. People, snakes, insects, fish, or any other organisms have young which in time develop into adults. Trees produce seeds which will grow into an adult tree. Non-living things do not have this ability. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own and therefore are not living organisms.

  1. Discuss with students that all objects have characteristics. Characteristics refer to descriptions of a particular object, whether it be living or non-living. Characteristics also help us to distinguish the differences between objects, like a bird and fish. Each of these animals belong to their own group that have similar characteristics.
  2. In this lab, set out stations around the room (you may want to use the materials that the children found on the pre lab activities). Make sure you have inanimate objects like puppets or artificial flowers.
  3. Have the students look at the objects and determine whether they are living or non-living. Guide their answers by telling them to figure out if the objects are living if they can answer "yes" to the following questions. Does it move? Does it need food? Can it have babies? Give students living and non-living cards (use pre lab master) and have them vote at each station.
  4. Count the votes at each station and then discuss why most children voted the way they did. Determine if they were right or wrong. Remember to distinguish that even though an item like paper, was living at one time, it does not qualify as a living object today.
  [Back to Life Cycle Grid]  [Back to Organisms (1)]