Classify Living and Nonliving Things

Contributor: Beth Price. Lesson ID: 10187

What is the difference between a rock and a wasp? After investigating your surroundings and watching some videos and playing an online game, you will learn to classify things as living and nonliving!


Life Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Picture a real bear and a toy bear. What is the difference between the two? One is alive and one is not alive! How can you tell if something is alive or not alive (nonliving)? Today, you will be a scientist and learn to identify and classify living and nonliving things!

brown bear and teddy bear

Let's be scientists!

An important job of a scientist is knowing how to sort or classify objects and things into groups. Today, you are going to learn how to classify things as living or not living (nonliving) things.

Think back to our first example. One picture was of a bear that was a toy and the other was a picture of a bear that was an animal. Which one is alive? Which one is not alive (nonliving)? A scientist would ask the following questions:

  • What is needed by something to be classified as living?
  • What is needed by something to be classified as nonliving?

Read below to find the answers to your questions!

A living thing:

  • drinks water.
  • breathes air.
  • eats food.
  • can move on its own.
  • grows.
  • reproduces babies like itself (cats have baby kittens, dogs have baby puppies, trees produce seeds that grow into trees).

A nonliving thing does not:

  • drink water.
  • eat food.
  • breathe.
  • move on its own.
  • grow.
  • reproduce.

Listen to a story to help you understand the characteristics (features) of living and nonliving things. The story is called What's Alive? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, presented by Franklin Elementary Zebrafish. You can listen to the story below:

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Here is another great Smart Learning for All video to watch. It is called Living and Nonliving Things for Kids:

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Continue on to the Got It? section to practice putting things into the correct categories.

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