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Grade VII Science Unit for Characteristics of Living Things for Teachers

Day 1:

  1. Introduce topic by asking students whether or not teacher is a living thing. Then ask students whether or not front desk is a living thing. Students will give predictable answers of "living" for the first question and "not living" for the second question. They will know the answers intuitively, but watch for those who may be unsure and use their uncertainty to segue into te next discussion.
  2. Begin the storytelling by asking students to explain how they chose their answers. What characteristics suggest that a thing is living? As students make suggestions, record them on the SmartBoard where teacher has prepared a table. Try to give as many students as possible a chance to contribute.
  3. Homework assignment:Students will look at two web sites. (Table should have 3 columns, name of object, Living or non-living, comments. Table needs 43 rows.
    1. Students may go to the following web site or click here.
      • Look at the photos and determine whether objects are living or non-living and explain why you made the choice. Write your answers in the table that you received in class.

    2. Now go to the following web site or click here.
      • Use resource called "Is It Alive." Click on "view" to see video.
      • Click "captions on" and watch the video. Determine whether the objects are living or not living and explain why you made the choice. Write your answers in the same table you used for #1. There will be some duplication.

    3. Now look at all your observations recorded on your table and see if you can come up with a list that describes the characteristics of all living things.

Day 2:

  1. Discuss homework assignment with class by going over their reactions to each of the examples. To prepare, display table on SmartBoard with names of examples filled in, but no other information.
  2. Ask students to read their lists of the characteristics of living things. Ask students what characteristics appear in most of their lists and write them on SmartBoard. Ask students for characteristics that were not commonly listed. Discuss these and add those to the list if there is agreement.
  3. Look over list to determine if the list can be consolidated into a list of universal characteristics.
  4. Homework assignment:(If time permits, can be started as a group effort in class using the SmartBoard.)
    1. Go to the following web site or click here.
      • Once on this site, you must do a search. Click off k-2. Click on 6-8, video, interactive, image, and life science. Click search. The videos are organized in different pages.
        1. On page 1-20, Click "Animal Defenses" and "Animal Hearing." View both with captions on.
        2. On page 41-60, click "Function of Fever," "Germinator," and "Masters of Disguises." View all with captions on.
        3. On page 61-80, click "The Mating Game," "Mitosis," "The Power of Touch," and "Single-Celled Organisms." View all with captions on.
      • The assignment is:
        1. For each video clip, write three observation that you think might describe a characteristic of living things. Write your observations on table given as a handout in class. We will discuss your observation in class.

    2. Bring to class an object that you think shows three characteristics of living things but is not alive.

    Day 3:

    1. To prepare, have web site, projected onto SmartBoard or Click here
    2. Allow students time to discuss their observations.
    3. Allow students to present their non-living objects and explain the characteristics of living things met by the object as well as why they think the object is non-living.
    4. Homework assignment:In complete sentences, write a paragraph to answer the following question, "Is a seed living or non-living and why?" Use information we have discussed to support your answer. Write your name and section on the top of your paper, as this assignment will be collected in class.

Click here for home page.

Click here to see a resourse list of sites for interactive experiences for characteristics of living things.

Click here to see the student version for the Characteristics of Living Things.