facebook Read About the 3 Characteristics of Living Things | Grades K-2 Science
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Read About Living vs. Non-Living Things

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child pets a cat in a lab
DEFINITION OF LIVING THINGS

Living things have three main traits: They grow, take in nutrients (that means food and water), and reproduce (which means they make more living things like themselves). Non-living things do not grow, need nutrients or reproduce.

To better understand living vs non-living things…

DEFINITION OF LIVING THINGS. Living things have three main traits: They grow, take in nutrients (that means food and water), and reproduce (which means they make more living things like themselves). Non-living things do not grow, need nutrients or reproduce. To better understand living vs non-living things…

LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!

Living things grow.

closeup of kitten which is living

An animal, such as a kitten, gets bigger and bigger and becomes a full-grown cat. A plant, such as a flower, starts from a seed and grows taller and taller. A non-living thing, like a rock, doesn’t grow.

Living things grow. An animal, such as a kitten, gets bigger and bigger and becomes a full-grown cat. A plant, such as a flower, starts from a seed and grows taller and taller. A non-living thing, like a rock, doesn’t grow.
closeup of kitten which is living

Living things need food and water.

woman waters plants

In science we say that they take in nutrients. An animal, like a kitten, takes in food and water through its mouth. A plant, like a tree, takes in nutrients through its roots and leaves. A non-living thing does not take in nutrients.

Living things need food and water. In science we say that they take in nutrients. An animal, like a kitten, takes in food and water through its mouth. A plant, like a tree, takes in nutrients through its roots and leaves. A non-living thing does not take in nutrients.
woman waters plants

Living things reproduce.

desert landscape with cactus growing

A mother cat and a father cat will make more cats. Plants also reproduce. They start from a seed, grow, and then produce seeds of their own. Non-living things do not reproduce.

Living things reproduce. A mother cat and a father cat will make more cats. Plants also reproduce. They start from a seed, grow, and then produce seeds of their own. Non-living things do not reproduce.
desert landscape with cactus growing

There are many living things on Earth.

school of fish swim together

Living things include kittens, fish, birds, insects and even people. They all have something in common: they grow, need nutrients and they reproduce!

There are many living things on Earth. Living things include kittens, fish, birds, insects and even people. They all have something in common: they grow, need nutrients and they reproduce!
school of fish swim together

Plants are also living things.

closeup of grass which is living

Plants are living because they grow, take in nutrients and reproduce. Trees, bushes, a cactus, flowers and grass are examples of plants.

Plants are also living things. Plants are living because they grow, take in nutrients and reproduce. Trees, bushes, a cactus, flowers and grass are examples of plants.
closeup of grass which is living

LIVING VS. NON-LIVING VOCABULARY

Living
An organism (animal or plant) that grows, takes in nutrients, and reproduces.
Non-living
An object that does not grow, take in nutrients, or reproduce.
Nutrients
A substance that provides nourishment for growth and making energy.
Reproduce
To make another organism (animal or plant) like the first organism.
Dead
Something that was once living, but is no longer alive.
Food
A substance a living thing can take in to get energy and to help it grow.

QUESTIONS ABOUT LIVING VS. NON-LIVING THINGS

What do we mean when we say something grows?

When something grows it changes and usually gets bigger as it grows.

What do we mean by the word ‘nutrients’?

Nutrients are the things that living things need in order to grow, like food and water.

What do we mean when we say something reproduces?

When something reproduces it makes more of itself. For example, mammals have live babies, birds and reptiles lay eggs, and plants make seeds which grow into new plants.

Name some examples of living things.

Some examples of living things are dogs, chickens, frogs, trees, roses, etc.

Name some examples of non-living things.

Some examples of non-living things are plates, tables, lamps, etc.

Is a dead cockroach living or non-living?

Neither, a dead cockroach was once living, but is no longer alive. A non-living object has never been alive.
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