August 18, 2015
by Kim Carlisle

Lesson plan

Is it Living?

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to compare and contrast living and nonliving things.

(10 minutes)
  • Place a rock and the small animal on a table in the front of your class. If you don't have a live animal, you can use a plant or a picture of an animal to represent the living creature.
  • Tell the students that they are going to explore what makes something living today. Explain to the students that there are two objects on the table. One is living, and one is not living.
  • Ask the students to tell you which one is living, and which one is not living.
  • Write the names of the two items on the board and write "living" and "nonliving" under the appropriate item.
  • Explain that you're going to read a story to the students and that afterward, they're going to make a chart of nonliving and living things.
(10 minutes)
  • Read the book Is It Living or Nonliving to the students.
  • After reading the book, ask the students what they have learned about living things.
  • Start a list on the whiteboard of characteristics that make something living.
  • Ask the students to volunteer to give answers for characteristics of living things, and write the answers on the board.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell the students that now we are going to use our list to determine whether something is living or not.
  • Hand out copies of the Is It Living? chart.
  • Show a picture of a tree to the class and ask them to look at the chart to determine whether the tree is living.
  • Go through the chart and answer all of the questions.
  • Ask a volunteer to tell the class whether they think the tree is living.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that now they will work with a partner to identify more things as living or nonliving using their charts.
  • The students should paste the chart with their responses into their journals.
  • Walk around the room and provide support where needed.
  • Enrichment: For students who need a more challenging extension or who finish early, the teacher can have them pick their own living or nonliving objects and continue to fill out the chart. The student would draw a picture of this object in the “living” or “nonliving” category.
  • Support: Children may struggle with the picture sort. For children who need more support, you can help them with the first image by helping them answer the questions in the chart. For ELS, this may be a challenging lesson, so the teacher can make the chart ahead of time with the object and the characteristics both in English and in the student’s native language so that they do not get caught up on the phrasing.
(15 minutes)
  • Take note of which students are struggling to classify the items in the independent exercise.
  • Collect the students' journals after the activity and check whether they got the correct answers.
(10 minutes)
  • After students have filled out their charts, go through each of the images and ask volunteers to tell the class whether they thought the image was living or nonliving and why.
  • Review the elements that make something living vs. not living.

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