Grade: Kindergarten, First
Materials: book What’s Alive? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, small Ziploc bags with 6 pictures (of living/nonliving things) in each (1 per pair of students), Living/Nonliving Things t-chart, Living/Nonliving Things Pictures” worksheet
Objective(s): Students will be able to 1) Identify a set of living things from a set of non-living things and 2) List 3-5 things a living thing needs to stay alive.
Anticipatory Set: With students gathered together, state the lesson objectives. Show students two objects–one real and one artificial and ask what they have in common (e.g. a potted plant and a stuffed animal). Write answers on the board or chart paper future use. Ask students if one of the objects is alive. How do they know? Tell students that there are ways to determine if something is a living thing or a nonliving thing. Write down new vocabulary as it is discussed to solidify concepts taught. Ask students to think about how they know if something is alive.
Direct Instruction/Guided Practice: Introduce students to the book What’s Alive? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. As you read, prompt students with questions to guide their thinking of how living things need certain things that nonliving things don’t need. After reading, return to the two objects. Ask students if they think one of them is alive. How do they know? Students should recognize which one is living. As a group, discuss what the living plant needs to stay alive. Write answers down to solidify concepts. Next, pair students and give each a small bag with 6 pictures (from books, magazines, or Google images) in it. Tell students that they are to look at the pictures and determine if each is a living or nonliving thing. After a few minutes, go through the pictures as a group. Have a “t-chart” available that is labeled living and nonliving. Call on students to place pictures in each category. Discuss why each belongs in the category they are in (because living things need–air, water, food, sunlight and shelter, etc.).
Independent Practice: Students will now have the opportunity to sort pictures by themselves. Provide the “Living/Nonliving Things t-chart” to each student along with the “Living/Nonliving Things Pictures” worksheet. Instruct students on how to complete the activity. Monitor students as they work. Interview each by asking them to identify 3-5 things a living thing needs to stay alive.
Closure: Bring students together to discuss the “Big Ideas” from the lesson. Review key vocabulary. Ask students if they are alive. Have them turn to a friend and tell how they know.
Assessment: Students will be assessed according to their ability to participate in the group discussion and lesson activities. They will also be assessed according to their ability to: 1) Identify a set of living things from a set of non-living things and 2) List 3-5 things a living thing needs to stay alive.
Accommodations: Students that have difficulty with attention or impulsivity should either be kept in close proximity to the teacher during the group discussion/activity or be allowed to stand where they will not disrupt others, but can move rather than sit. Some students may benefit from having the number of pictures in the independent activity decreased. Allow students to refer to the pictures and vocabulary on the board for assistance.
Extensions: 1)Provide students with a small sheet of paper and have them list things in the classroom that are living and nonliving. Tell them to include anything they may see as they look out of the classroom window. 2) As a creative writing assignment and an added challenge, provide students an opportunity to form acrostic poems using the words LIVING and/or NONLIVING. 3) Allow students the opportunity to cut out pictures from magazines of living things and the things they need to stay alive.