By exploring various objects and organisms, students will begin to distinguish between things that are living, things that were once-living, and things that are nonliving.
- Living and Nonliving, by Angela Royston; ISBN 1403408548
- What Is A Living Thing?, by Bobbie Kalman; ISBN 0613123352
- Living Things, by Adrienne Mason; ISBN 0613260422
- Its Alive!: All About the Living World, by Sunnie Kim;
Background for Teachers
Your students may have trouble distinguishing between living,
nonliving, and once-living things. Children may consider everything that
moves to be alive, including cars and clouds. Often children pretend that
objects are alive so that they can talk to them. Children also have
difficulty comparing once-living objects with objects that have never
lived. Living and nonliving are scientific terms. Children are
accustomed to hearing living or dead. By exploring various objects and
organisms, your students can begin to distinguish between things that are
living, things that were once-living, and things that are nonliving.
Characteristics of living things are: able to grow, reproduce (make
more organisms like itself), eat and drink, move, and are made of cells.
To be alive, an object must do all five.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
- Give each group a bag and have them go outside and collect ten
- Have each group dump their bag on their desks and sort their
- Discuss how each group has sorted their items.
- Are there any other ways to sort them?
- Read Living and Nonliving by Angela Royston.
- Have groups sort their items again.
- Discuss characteristics of living and nonliving things.
- Graph results.
- Create a compare and contrast Venn Diagram.
- Clean desks. Sort items into living, nonliving, and once-living.
Put a small living animal (cricket, ant, beetle, ladybug, etc.) that is
in a small clear box in a few desks.
- Living and Nonliving boxes.
- Provide magazines and have students cut out pictures of living,
nonliving, and once-living things. Glue on a large piece of paper
to make a collage.
- Sort Picture Cards into living, nonliving, and once-living
- Students share their collage pictures with their families.
- Students look for living, nonliving, and once-living things in their
- Make observations as students are working in their groups.
- Check collages for accuracy.