ALEX Lesson Plan


Dead or Alive?...Exploration of living and nonliving things

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Samantha Holmes-Butler
System: Bullock County
School: Bullock County Board Of Education
Author:Deborah Marshall
System: Bullock County
School: Bullock County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:NASA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34217


Dead or Alive?...Exploration of living and nonliving things


In this lesson, students will compare and contrast characteristics of living and nonliving things via pictures, class projects, videos and whole-group discourse.  Students will record their findings in Science journals.

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: K
3 ) Distinguish between living and nonliving things and verify what living things need to survive (e.g., animals needing food, water, and air; plants needing nutrients, water, sunlight, and air).

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E4.5: Natural materials have different properties that sustain plant and animal life.

NAEP Statement::
E4.7: The Sun warms the land, air, and water and helps plants grow.

NAEP Statement::
L4.1: Organisms need food, water, and air; a way to dispose of waste; and an environment in which they can live.*

NAEP Statement::
L4.2: Organisms have basic needs. Animals require air, water, and a source of energy and building material for growth and repair. Plants also require light.

NAEP Statement::
L4.3: Organisms interact and are interdependent in various ways, including providing food and shelter to one another. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs are met. Some interactions are beneficial; others are detrimental to the organism and other organisms.

NAEP Statement::
L4.4: When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Distinguish between living and nonliving things.
  • Verify what living things need to survive
  • Use observations to distinguish between living and nonliving things and describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Distinguish
  • Living
  • Nonliving
  • Verify
  • Need
  • Survive
  • Animals
  • Plants
  • Nutrients
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Air
  • Food
Students know:
  • All animals need food, water, and air in order to survive.
  • Animals obtain their food from plants and other animals.
  • Plants need water, light and air to survive.
Students are able to:
  • Distinguish between living (including humans) and nonliving things.
  • Verify what living things, including plants and animals, need to survive.
Students understand that:
  • Patterns in the natural world can be observed and used as evidence when distinguishing between living and nonliving things and determining the needs of living things.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Plants and Animals
*Exploring Plants and Animals, STC

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.K.3- Sort a group of items based on whether the items are living or nonliving.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The student will enhance their knowledge of living and nonliving things and be able to differentiate between the characteristics of each. DOK: Elaborate on what living things need to survive.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

K-W-L chart (for class), pencils, scissors, glue, construction paper or card stock, markers, magazines (to cut from), Read aloud books, crayons, Living/Nonliving Sort & Characteristic activity sheet (attached), white paper for class (1 per student), coloring sheet, rap sheet, hula activity sheet, Science journals

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive board, Access to, computer OR laptop OR tablet access for each student or groups of students.


Ensure access to Youtube or download the video in advance, Teacher will have to have knowledge of how to use Kahoot! and a Kahoot! account.


Step 1: Read Aloud: “Living and Nonliving by Carol Lindeen” and/or “The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow” by Joanna Cole and John Speirs” and show Video:

Step 2: In a whole group setting, using KWL (or another graphic organizer) on Chart paper, discuss with students the characteristics of living and nonliving things.  You could also consider using the ReadWriteThink KWL Creator at
-What are some examples of living things?
-What are some examples of nonliving things?
-How are living and nonliving things different?
-Do all living things move?
-Do all living things eat?
-Do nonliving things eat?
-Why do living things move?

Step 3: Provide groups of 5-6 students with various representations of living and nonliving objects. (i.e.: toy animals, miniature toy plants, rocks, office supplies) Have students to draw a quick picture of an example of each a living and nonliving thing and orally discuss drawings.

Step 4: In group of 2-3 students, allow students to use Living/Nonliving Sort Activity Sheet to categorize picture of objects AND/OR give students half a poster, drawing a line to make two columns, labeling one side “Living” and the other side “Nonliving” and allow students to find pictures from magazines and paste in correct columns (2-4 pictures, each). Display outside the door or in classroom. Students record findings in Science Journals.

Step 5: Students play Living and Nonliving Kahoot! game here:

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

This objective may be assessed by the following: teacher observation, classroom participation, and completed sorting models.


Extended activity opportunities: coloring sheet (attached), Living/nonliving rap and Hula Hoop activity (attached)



View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.