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Dead or Alive?

In the last Sci-ber Text activity you looked at the characteristics of living things or organisms. In this one, we will deal with everything else.
Nonliving things don’t breathe, eat, grow, or reproduce. They are things like rocks, air, crayons, cars, rubber duckies, and even fossils. You may argue about the fossils. They were once living organisms, but the key is that they aren’t alive now. The organism died, and its imprint is all that remains. They are no longer growing, eating and reproducing. Nonliving things are - NOT ALIVE!

Look closely at these pictures:

These are nonliving things because they cannot grow, reproduce, or have parents.

Here are the characteristics of nonliving things:

  • Do not breathe
  • Do not eat
  • Do not reproduce or have parents
  • Do not grow
  • Do not produce waste

Examples of nonliving things:

  • Rocks
  • Air
  • Water
  • Wind
  • Fire
  • Sound
  • Metal

Most of the time it is easy to tell if something is living or nonliving. But sometimes things that were once living are now nonliving things? Look at these shells.

They were once a part of something living, but now they are nonliving.

Examples of once-living things:

  • Shells
  • Dead animals
  • Dried plants
  • Hair

Look at the pictures below. Click on the pictures of things that are living.


Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 3rd grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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