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Living and Nonliving Things

Living and Nonliving Things

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to sort and classify living and nonliving things based upon whether or not they have basic needs and produce offspring.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that the living environment is composed of relationships between organisms and the life cycles that occur.

Science Background

Characteristics of Living Organisms: University of Leicester (website) - Overview created for elementary teachers about the characteristics that most biologists accept as being common to all living things.

Characteristics of Living Organisms
University of Leicester,

Wildlife’s Requirements for Survival: Texas Parks and Wildlife (PDF) - General information about the three basic things that all animals need to survive: food, water and shelter.

Wildlife's Requirements for Survival
Texas Parks and Wildlife,

Signature Lesson

Living and Non-Living: Kindergarten, Kindergarten (website) - Use a downloadable power point to help students distinguish living versus non-living things.  The website providers several student worksheets as downloadable PDF's.

Living and Non-Living
Kindergarten, Kindergarten,

Supporting Lessons

Get a Life - Bottle Biology: Annenberg Media (website) - Students test their ideas about what is living and what is non-living by creating tiny habitats strung together as a necklace.

Get a Life: Bottle Biology
Annenberg Media,

An Authentic Lesson on Living and Non-living Things: Bright Hub (website) - Students discuss, sort and classify living organisms and non-living objects based on their properties.

An Authentic Lesson on Living and Non-living Things
Bright Hub,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Animals’ Needs: BioEd Online (website) - Observe a worm model and a live worm, create worm terrariums, and observe worms over time.

Animals' Needs
BioEd Online,

Science Projects for Second Grade: Living and Non-Living Guide: Bright Hub (website) - Students use their notebooks to find and record observations of living organisms and nonliving objects.

Living and Non-Living Guide
Bright Hub,

Websites for “What Are Living and Nonliving Things?” SciLinks (website) - Links to many lessons that teach core concepts such as why living things need air, water, soil, and light, and what happens if living organisms do not get these things.

Websites for “What Are Living and Nonliving Things?”

Assessment Ideas

Living and Non-living Things Worksheets: Have Fun Teaching (PDF) - Have students cut out and sort images of common living and nonliving things.

Living and Non-living Things Worksheet
Have Fun Teaching,

Resources and the Environment - Assessments: BioEd Online (website) - Assessment activity for use before and after teaching a unit about resources and the environment, focusing on resources and the environment and designed to evaluate student’s knowledge of the origins of natural and designed resources.

Resources and the Environment: Assessments
BioEd Online,

Literature Connections

The Rabbit Handbook. Parker, Karen (ISBN-13: 978-0764142536)

The Velveteen Rabbit. Williams-Bianco, Margery (ISBN-13: 978-0761458487)

Is It Living or Nonliving? Rissman, Rebecca (ISBN-13: 978-1432922726)

What is a Living Thing? Kalman, Bobbie (ISBN-13: 978-0865058910)

I am a Living Thing. Kalman, Bobbie (ISBN-13: 978-0778732532)

Related Science TEKS

(1.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to recognize and demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations, including wearing safety goggles, washing hands, and using materials appropriately.

(1.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(1.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(1.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(1.2E) Communicate Observations
The student is expected to communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations.

(1.3A) Identify, Explain and Propose a Solution to a Problem
The student is expected to identify and explain a problem such as finding a home for a classroom pet and propose a solution in his/her own words.

(1.4A) Tools for Collecting Information
The student is expected to collect information using tools, including computers ,  hand lenses , primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks;  and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(1.4B) Non-Standard Measurement Units
The student is expected to measure organisms and objects and parts of organisms and objects, using non-standard units.

Related Math TEKS

1.9A     The student is expected to collect and sort data.

1.9B    The student is expected to use organized data to construct real object graphs, picture graphs, and bar-type graphs.

1.12A    The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

1.13A    The student is expected to justify his or her thinking using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Ourselves: BBC Bitesize (website) - In this game students determine if the objects on the screen are living or non-living.

BBC Bitesize,

Living and Non Living Things: Mixbook (website) - This short interactive book may be used to introduce the concept of living organisms and non-living objects.

Living and Non Living Things

Living and Non-living Things: MillePrime Education Services e-learning for Primary Science (website) - Explanation of concepts related to living and non-living things on a primary level.

Living and Non-Living Things
MillePrime Education Services,

Is it Alive? Ohio Department of Education (PDF) - Students identify characteristics of living and non-living things, and use vocabulary to describe things with which they interact on a daily basis.

Is it Alive?
Ohio Department of Education,

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