877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Living versus Non-Living Lesson Plan

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #: AELP-BIO0101
Submitted by: Nikki Andres
Email: andresn@selway.umt.edu
School/University/Affiliation: University of Montana, Missoula
Endorsed by: Lisa Blank
             University of Montana, Missoula Date: November 29, 1999

Grade Level(s): 1, 2


  • Science/Biology

Duration: one hour 15 minutes Description: Students will classify objects that they collect during a scavenger hunt on their school playground according to living and non-living. They will then create real and pictorial graphs that represent their data.

Goals: Students will:

  • discover characteristics of living and non-living things.
  • create real graphs and pictographs.

Objectives: Students will:

  • explain that living things grow and develop.
  • classify living and non-living objects.
  • create a real graph and a pictograph indicating their findings.
  • Materials:

    • worm
    • plant
    • rock
    • 5 sheets of butcher paper with graph lines
    • pictograph (to use as an example)
    • magazines
    • glue
    • scissors
    • 10 scavenger hunt worksheets
    • 5 plastic grocery bags
    • cut-outs of trees and cars
    • plastic lunch baggie
    • wet paper towel
    • 25 bean seeds

    Procedure: Focus Phase:

    Place a rock, a plant, and a worm on a table.
    Have students gather around and brainstorm what they observe.
    Make a class list of the similarities and differences between the three objects.

    • How are the plant and the animal alike?
    • How are these two different from the rock?
    • What makes something living? What makes something non-living?

    Challenge Phase:

    1. In groups of four, students will participate in a scavenger hunt around the playground. They will gather ten items, some living things and some non-living things, as depicted on the scavenger hunt worksheet (some of the items will consist of cutting out pictures out of magazines).

    2. Once they have collected the objects, they will return to the classroom and categorize the items into two piles, living and non-living.

    3. Have students show the class which pictures they cut out of the magazine. Ask: Why did you select those pictures? What makes those objects living or non-living?

    4. They will create a real graph placing the items on the butcher paper. The students will count how many items are living and how many are non-living on the real graph.

    5. They will create a pictograph by gluing cut-outs of trees (to represent living) and cars (to represent non-living) on the sheet of butcher paper.

    Concept Introduction:

    1. Have students present to the class their pictographs.

    2. Ask: What makes something living? What makes something non-living? Which objects collected in the scavenger hunt were difficult to classify?

    3. Introduce the scientific characteristics of living and non-living things. Come back to the initial brainstorming list used in the focus phase and focus on the concept that all living things grow and develop.

    4. Read the concept book, Growing, to the class and have children identify the living and non-living things in the book.

    5. Ask: What do all living things need in order to grow? How do we get energy? How do plants get energy? What do plants need in order to grow?

    Concept Application:

    Present a seed to the students and using the concepts they learned about living and non-living things.
    Have students discuss and vote on whether the seed is living or not.
    Place the one seed in a wet plastic bag in front of the window, place another seed in a wet plastic bag in the closet, and place a third plastic bag, without water, in front of the window.
    Challenge the students to observe the seed throughout the week.
    Come back to the question later in the week to explore what happened to each of the seeds.

    Assessment: Students will demonstrate their understandings by:

    1) observing and comparing the rock, the worm and the plant.
    2) correctly categorizing and graphing the items from the scavenger hunt.
    3) explaining the differences and similarities between living and non-living things using the pictures they cut out of magazines.