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Is It Living?

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Is It Living?

This activity (on pages 10-12 of the PDF) encourages learners to consider what makes living things different from non-living things. Learners discuss a pre-selected pair of objects, one living and the other non-living (and not made from something that was once living). Learners then go outside on a field trip to look for living things, which they note in their science journal. A follow-up discussion centers around what learners found and how they decided that those things were alive.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • White board, chalk board, or large piece of chart paper and chalk or markers
  • A pair of objects, one living (such as an insect, plant, or classroom pet) and one nonĀ­-living (any inanimate object, preferably one not made from once-living material such as wood or leather)
  • Hand lenses
  • An outdoor area to investigate
  • 1 science journal for each participant



  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Classification

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • Public Domain

Funding Source:

  • NASA, NAG5-13028


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