What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment? - Unit Overview

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Lesson Overview

Grade level(s):

Elementary School (K-5), Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5


Biology/Life Science, FOSS-Related
Author Name(s): 
Linda Akiyama

"What is a Living Thing and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" is a unit designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

UNIT: What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?


1) What Do Living Things Have in Common?

2) Living or Non-living?

3) Introducing Cells

4) Introducing the Process of Investigative Science

5) Student Designed Investigations Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4- A Living Thing Responds to Its Environment

Part 1 - Observation

Part 2 - Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials, and Procedures

Part 3 - Collection Data and Drawing Conclusions

Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair

6) Extension Activity - Draw an Alien in Its Natural Habitat

NGSS Topics
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas