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Its Alive – or is it?. The Characteristics of Life. I can…. Describe the biological criteria that need to be met in order for an organism to be considered alive. 6 Characteristics of Life.

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Its alive or is it

Its Alive – or is it?

The Characteristics of Life


I can
I can…

  • Describe the biological criteria that need to be met in order for an organism to be considered alive


6 characteristics of life
6 Characteristics of Life

  • In order for ANY organism, no matter how large or small, to be considered alive, it must exhibit the following 5 characteristics:

  • Organization

  • Ability to acquire materials and energy

  • Ability to maintain homeostasis

  • Ability to respond

  • Ability to reproduce and grow

  • Acquire adaptations


Organization within a living organism
Organization within a living organism…

  • Organization of living things begins with atoms, which make up basic building blocks called elements and molecules

  • The cell is made up of molecules and is the basic structural and functional unit of all living things

  • Different cells combine to make up tissues

  • Tissues combine to make up an organ

  • Specific organs work together as an organ system

  • Multicellular organisms contain organ systems

  • Each level of organization is more complex that the level preceding


Working with what we have learned
Working with what we have learned…

  • Make flow chart of the levels of organization – within an organism

  • At each level, give at least 2 examples


Organization between living organisms
Organization between living organisms…

  • A species is the same type of organism

  • A population is group of the same species in a particular area

  • Interacting populations in a particular area is a community

  • A community PLUS its physical (non-living) environment is an ecosystem

  • The biosphere is comprised of regions of the Earth’s crust, waters and atmosphere inhabited by organisms


Working with what we have learned1
Working with what we have learned…

  • Using our classroom as our “particular area”, give examples for each level of organization found between organisms


Acquire materials and energy
Acquire Materials and Energy

  • Maintaining organization and conducting life-sustaining processes require an outside source of energy

    • The ultimate source of energy for nearly all live on earth is the sum

    • Plants and certain other organisms convert solar energy into chemical energy by the process of photosynthesis

  • Metabolism is all the chemical reactions that occur in the cell


Ability to maintain homeostasis
Ability to maintain homeostasis…

  • All organisms must maintain a state of biological balance, or homeostasis

    • Temperature, moisture level, pH level, etc.. Must be maintained within the tolerance range of the organism

  • Organisms have intricate feedback and control mechanisms to maintain homeostatic balance


Ability to respond
Ability to Respond…

  • Living things interact with the environment and with other living things and need to respond accordingly

  • Response often results in movement of the organism

    • A plant bending toward the sun to capture solar energy or a turtle withdrawing into its shell for safety

  • Responses help ensure survival of the organism and allow the organism to carry out biological activities

  • The collective responses of an organism constitute the behavior of the organism


Ability to reproduce and grow
Ability to reproduce and grow…

  • Reproduction is the ability of every type of organism to give rise to another organism like itself

    • Bacteria, protozoans, and other unicellular organisms simply split in two (binary fission) – asexual reproduction

    • Multicellular organism often unite sperm and egg, each from a different individual, resulting in an immature individual which develops into the adult – sexual reproduction

  • The instructions for an organism’s organization and development are encoded in genes

    • Genes are comprised of long molecules of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)

    • DNA is the genetic code for all living things


Acquire to adaptations
Acquire to Adaptations…

  • Adaptations are modifications that make organisms suited to their way of life

  • Occur over a long period of time