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.
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
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
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.
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.