Life Cycle - Organisms (KA)
Pre Lab 

  • Grouping different forms of life.
  • Comparing large and small organisms.
  • animal
  • living
  • non-living
  • organism

Students use a worksheet to discuss different organisms.



The word organism refers to all living things. Non-living objects like rocks, are not organisms. Most of the organisms that students are familiar with include dogs, horse, and hamsters. However, not all organisms are animals. Plants, mushrooms, and little protozoa are all living. The definition for living is sometimes difficult to explain. Living creatures can reproduce and need nutrients to grow. Growth is not a defining characteristic. For instance, a crystal can grow, but that is not considered living.

In order for young children to start sorting and classifying organisms, they need to have experience with as many different types as possible. Students do not need to learn all the different groups of organisms, but they should start learning skills of sorting by different and distinguishing characteristics.

  1. Show pictures or use objects in the classroom of living organisms and non-living objects. Go over careful what makes each one living or non-living. Also distinguish objects that may have been created from living objects (i.e. wooden chairs), but are no longer living. Reproduction is key in order for objects to be considered living. The ability to have "offsprings" or "babies" is a key ingredient for classifying something as "living." A living organism also requires nourishment to maintain its growth. The nourishment could include water, nutrients, food, or light.
  2. Ask students to name one living organism and one non-living object at their house. You may want to make a list. Discuss the characteristic that they think makes it’s a living object. It may be difficult for a student to see reproduction in many things. Plants for instance have seeds, but a rug cannot make little rugs by itself. A rug does not nourish itself, but a plant requires light, water, and nutrients. Go over the words over and over again, with each of the children’s story.
  3. Use the worksheet for the students to determine what is living and non living. Instruct students to draw a line to the appropriate word.
  4. Ask students that if they could bring in a picture or photo of something living at their house. It could be a pet, a plant, or a sibling. You may want to take the students outside and discuss what is living and not living outside.

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