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Life Science: TerrAqua Column

Is It Alive?

dried peas
Are these dried peas alive?

As a companion to the Essential Science for Teachers course, the TerrAqua Column is meant to help you apply what you learn during Session 1: What Is Life? To do this, a good TerrAqua Column design will include living, dead, and nonliving components — those that you’ve introduced as well as those that are “included” as part of the bottle system (i.e., the bottles and the air). “Is It Alive?” provides you with an opportunity to classify these items as living, dead, and nonliving using what you’ve learned about the characteristics of life.

Materials Required

Instructions

  1. Assemble the objects to be introduced into your TerrAqua Column.
  2. Observe each object.
  3. Using your Is It Alive? Data Sheet (PDF), classify each object as living, dead, or nonliving.
  4. After you’ve stocked your TerrAqua Column, make regular observations of each object and document any changes that occur.

Activity Questions

Before you stock your TerrAqua Column

  1. What are five characteristics that can be used to define “living”?
  2. Which can be observed in a living object as it sits in front of you?
  3. Which can be observed in a living object over time?
  4. Which items do you currently classify as living?
  5. What characteristics define “dead”?
  6. Which can be observed in a dead object sitting in front of you?
  7. Which can be observed in a dead object over time?
  8. Which objects do you currently classify as dead?
  9. What characteristics define “nonliving”?
  10. Which can be observed in a nonliving object sitting in front of you?
  11. Which can be observed in a nonliving object over time?
  12. Which objects do you currently classify as nonliving?
  13. Which objects are you unsure of?
  14. What evidence will help you reach conclusions for these objects?

At the End of Your Study Period

  1. For which objects would you change your classification?
  2. What happened to change your ideas?

SHARE YOUR RESULTS: Is It Alive?

TRACK OUR PROGRESS: Is It Alive?

prev: taking inventory



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