The following traits distinguish living things from
- Living things usually grow during their life cycle.
Note that the word "grow" refers also to non-living things which
can get larger. Examples are crystals, stalactites, and stalagmites.
- Many living things move on their own although some,
like plants, do not. Remember that motorized vehicles also move.
- Living things need food, water, and a place to
live. Almost all need air, but not all.
- Living things reproduce. Things that are not living
cannot have "babies."
List these words on a chalkboard:
cat, dog, tree, boy, girl, grass, bird, rose. Ask how these things are alike.
(They are all living).
Ask children how you can tell the
difference between something that is living and something that is not living.
Try to get students to think of the characteristics listed above.
Make envelopes of non-living and living
cards by pasting a card on each individual envelope (see enclosed master).
Give each child an envelop marked "living" or
"non-living." Make sure that each child knows which of the two kinds
of envelopes he or she has.
Tell the students that they will be
going on a walk and will have to find one thing and put the object in the
envelop that they have. No bugs allowed, and a leaf can represent an entire
plant. Acorns and other seeds are good. Make sure you go over any rules of
what children should not touch. Non-living objects could include a rock, piece
of glass, or trash.
When they get back from the walk, go
over what they found and help them decide whether each thing is living or not
living. They should be able to explain why they classified each object as they