The Characteristics of Living Things

Mary Hopkins Edward Coles School
8440 South Phillip
Chicago, Ill. 60617


Grade Level 8
1. The students will identify the characteristics of living things using the
method of observations.
2. The students will use recall to place visual data in proper order.
3. The students will transfer common names used to explain characteristics of
living organisms to their scientific name.
4. The students will retain the structure of organisms through role playing.
5. The students will observe an exhibit using the overhead projector and explain
on paper what they observed using the scientific process.

Material needed:

an overhead projector a culture dish
a bottle of Duco cement a bottle of red nail polish remover
a small rock or stone
pictures of a cell, a tissue, an organ, a system and an organism.


The students studied living things in seventh grade. They have seen a film
this week. Today we will review the characteristics of living things. Place on
the chalkboard/wall the following: a poster with the names of the systems and
their functions with a cover for the name of the system. The processes and
functions of all living things. Place all other posters on your desk.
Review the cell theory. Ask students questions about living things and
record the answers on the board, accept all answers. If they need stimulation
ask questions. Examples-How are living things classified? What do living
things do? How can you determine when something is living? What is an
organism? Can you prove you are one? Leave on the chalkboard, tie in later.
Review cells, tissue, organ, systems and organism. Now have students take out
pencil and paper observe on the overhead projector the following: 3 dishes about
one-half full of water. The following will be placed in each dish: a stone, 3
drops of nail polish and two or three drops of Duco cement. The students will
observe and write their observations. Now discuss. Return students to the
chalkboard and place the things we noted on the chalkboard in the proper
category according to the scientific processes all living things do.


Divide the students into two groups. One student from each group will pull
a card to see who will be first, 3 points will be given for correct answer. If
a student needs assistance from the teacher the group will receive 2 points.
The opposing team may steal if they cannot answer for one point. One person
from the group will draw and the group may give only one answer. The group must
answer in one minute. Continue the same procedure as above. This is good way
to help students retain data and enjoy doing it.
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