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> I really enjoyed working with my students on these essential science concepts. I noted that they shared many of the misunderstandings that the young children on the video had. When I asked them if a seed or a nut was alive, they weren't sure. I made a collection of items from my garden and house and brought them into the classroom. They examined all the items and decided if they were alive, dead, or never alive. I had stuffed animals, dead branches, clippings from plants and ferns, sea shells, and a fish from my aquarium, among others. I also had a mystery liquid. They loved the activity and put a lot of thought into their journal entries about the items. Then they shared their ideas.
Next, I brought flowers for them to disect and examine and learn the names of the parts. They cut open berries, and they examined a "pregnant onion plant." I brought dried roses and live orchids for them to examine. They created a chart of what they thought were the criteria that defined living things.
My questions were "Can you name living things that don't move? If you could go on an expedition to Mars and found a strange thing, how could you tell if it had ever been alive? Is pollen alive? How can you tell if a tree is still alive in the spring, if it doesn't have leaves? When you cut flowers, how can you tell when they are completely dead?
I enjoyed the reading assignment. It helped me ask better questions when the students seemed confused. I am also working alone and would be glad to share assignments and ideas with you.
> From: "Kimberly Minton" <Mintonkk@clarkston.k12.mi.us>
> Date: 2004/03/22 Mon AM 10:44:01 EST
> To: <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: [Channel-talklife] What Is Life?
> Hello everyone. I am supposed to share my questions from the reading
> assignment (session 1) with my group, but I am working alone. Would
> anyone else like to post theirs? My questions are:
> 1. Can a feather "tickle" someone?
> 2. Is water alive?
> 3. Do all living things eat, breathe or grow?
> 4. Are seeds alive?
> 5. Why do living things die?
> How did you classify the group of fundementally diverse life forms? I
> decided to group them as plant, animal and other.
> Watched the video for session 2, I have so much to learn! It was
> interesting to learn that we are classified in the same broad group of
> living things as plants, fungi and protists because we all have cells
> that contain a nucleus. I think you could introduce children to this
> idea using a microscope. They would find it hilarious to know that we
> have something in common with a fungus. Bacteria is something that
> children know as germs, they begin to understand bacteria when they get
> to at least second grade. You could possibly find pictures of bacteria
> in books or on the internet. I liked the video clip on the Archaea, the
> extremeophiles. I think children would be as interested as I am about
> the unknown. It is possible to teach children about classification and
> I think living organisms from all groups should be introduced. Then
> when they get to be my age, it wouldn't be the first time they heard
> about or learned about the diversity of life.
> I am interested in hearing from others.
> Thank you,
> Kimberly Minton
> >>> firstname.lastname@example.org 03/11/04 09:54AM >>>
> The first lesson focuses its attention to this question and provides
> answers and examples to children at early stages of development.
> are four characteristics of life that all living organisms have in
> common: organization, reproduction, growth and development, and the
> ability to adjust to its environment
> Organization: The lesson addresses this by going through the function
> and structure of an organism-from the cells to tissues to organs to
> systems. An organ system is a group of organs that work together to
> carry out major life functions.
> Reproduction: Does occur differently between organisms. Children
> to know that both plants and animals reproduce. It is not necessary
> know how the organisms do that at this early age.
> Growth and Development: Some organisms go through their life cycles
> very quickly. Wisconsin Fast Plants can be grown from seed to seed in
> about 35 days. They are great plants to have in the classroom to show
> this growth. Measuring the student height, or arm length, could be
> another way for them to understand this concept.
> Adjust to Environment: All organisms depend on others for food,
> shelter, protection and reproduction. Interactions between organisms
> the same species, and interactions between organisms of differing
> species are the focus of ecology. Ecology is the study of the levels
> organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, and the
> In reality, life is organized from the cellular level to the Earth as
> whole. It is important for our students to understand that these
> concepts are connected through over-arching strands. We can emphasize
> systems, form and function, environmental interactions, change and
> constancy, and properties, patterns and models through these lessons.
> I was very glad to see that Lesson #1 focused on living/nonliving and
> dead. To many times teachers do not focus on dead-leading to many
> misconceptions and problems and questions that the teacher cannot
> Marsha Willis
> Math/Science Education Specialist
> Education Service Center Region 12
> 2101 W. Loop 340
> Waco, TX 76712
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