Investigating Living and Non-Living

Compiled by April Lorrerncre Clipart by DJ lnkers

Is it Alive?

students will understand the concept of living objects vs. non-living and they will understand what living things need to stay alive.

Discuss what is alive and what types of things are not. What does a living thing need? What would happen if living things did not get the things they needed?

Have each child pick their favorite living thing. (I would create a circle map first to show all the living things they can name. This should help generate a variety of ideas. )

Have students illustrate their favorite living thing. Then have them write about why it is living. For example: "A cat is a living thing because .... " Have students write several sentences and USe vocabulary related specifically to their living thing.

They can do the same activity with a non-living thing as well. "A marker is not

1° b "

a tve eccuse ....

Read the book The [?erenstain [?ears Grow It. Talk about the plants in Farmer [?en's garden and what they need to continue growing. What kinds of plants are grown on a farm?

After reading the book, plant beans with your students. Take care of the plants and See what happens. Chart their growth, when watered, how much water they receive, etc.

perform an experiment with another plant by not giving it water.

Talk about the differences between plants that were taken care of ad the one that was not. Chc rt the resu Its.

Plant and Animal Comparison Charts

E?egin by having them discuss what they already know about plants and animals.

You might also have them share what they "wonder" about plants and animals (the questions they have about them). Create a tree map titled "Living Things" with the branches "plants" and "Animals" or make a t-chart to compare plants and animals. Have students sort through pictures of plants and animals (make sure to include people). They can do this as a large group or they can work in small groups to make their own charts. Afterward, discuss the different pictures and where they were placed. Discuss the similarities and differences between plants and animals.

Characteristics of Living Things

• They are made of cells.

• They grow bigger when the conditions are right.

• They reproduce.

• They require energy from a food source.

• They change as thei r envi ronrnent changes.

Living and Non-Living Roll' Em Game

Play this game in a small group.

To get ready, cover two separate tissue box cubes with solid colored paper (or use large dice or wooden cube blocks). Label one cube with the words water, land, and air (two sides each). Label the other cube with the words living and non-living (three sides each). Review the words with your students. To play the game, have one child roll both cubes and read the words that are facing up. Ask him or her to name a plant, an animal, or an object that fits the descriptive words. Continue to play until each child has had several turns. This is a great way to quickly assess who has a strong understanding of living and non-living.

A r?reath of Fresh Air

You need: two healthy plants (previously grown) and Vaseline


Review with students that people need air to live. Do plants need air too? Tell students that you will use two healthy plants in an experiment to find out.

Explain that the plants breathe through tiny openings that are usually found on the undersides of the leaves. Ask children what they think would happen if you covered the undersides of all of the leaves of one plant with Vaseline. (The tiny holes would get clogged, and the plant would be unable to breothe.)

Cover the underside of each lead of one plant with Vaseline. Label it "No Air." Leave the other plant as it is and label it "Air." For a few weeks care for each plant with water and sunlight.

Ask chi Idren to predict what might happen. Chart or have student's journal about their predictions.

When the experiment is complete, compare the two plants, and discuss the results. (The plant that had air grew. The plant that did not get air through its leaves withered.)

Variation- Do this with three plants. Leave one alone. Coat the

bo ttom of the leaves of one and the top of the leaves of the other. This will show students that it was covering up the breathing holes that caused the plant to wilt not the Vaseline itself.