Investigation 1: What is Life?. At the end of Investigation 1 you will be able to:. list and describe the characteristics that all organisms share. differentiate the concepts of living, nonliving, dead and dormant. make and record observations in an experiment. . Investigation 1 - Part 1.
What is life?
-How can you tell if something is living or nonliving?
-Name and describe some examples for each.
Why do you think that the objects moved the way that they did?
You will work with your partner to sort cards into “living” and “non-living” piles. If you cannot agree, put the card in a third “undecided” pile.
1. Partner A picks up a card and places it into a pile. Explain why you are classifying it as living or non-living, be specific.
2. Partner B picks up the second card and does the same thing.
3. Record your answers on Lab page 1.
-Does everyone agree that this is in the correct category?
-Could it be placed in a different category? Why?
-What might lead someone to think it belonged there?
Why are these things categorized as they are?
This is a work in progress and we will make changes as we see fit.
Any living thing- plant, animal or other- is an organism. An organism is the most general word used to refer to an independently living thing.
We will be observing many organisms and it is important to provide them with the proper habitat. Some are small aquatic organisms. We will set up a minipond habitat now so that it will be nicely aged and ready in a couple of weeks when it is time to start our work with aquatic organisms.
b. Add dry leaves, dead grass, and twigs. The container should be no more than one-fourth full.
c. Add water. The container should be no more than
d. Put a lid on the container.
e. Label the container with your period, group number, and
You will be observing five different materials. They might be living, but we are not sure! We have our characteristics of life chart as guidance, let’s see what we can find out!
PLEASE DO NOT OPEN THE BAGGIES!
Observe and record your observations on Lab page 3.
What might you do to get more information about the materials to help you determine if they are living?
We will run an investigation to determine if an aquatic or moist environment will help us to determine whether these five materials are alive or not.
We will examine three different liquid environments. Each group will research ONE of the three liquids.
Group 2- Liquid 2
Group 3- Liquid 3
Group 4- Liquid 1
Group 5- Liquid 2
Group 6- Liquid 3
Group 7- Liquid 1
Group 8 – Liquid 2
Read the directions carefully as we don’t have extra materials if mistakes are made. Work slowly please.
Vials A and D get half a cotton ball and 3 droppers full of the liquid.
Vials B, C, and E get 30 mL of the liquid.
Material B- 1 minispoon into vial B
Material C- 8 grains into vial C
Material D- 8 grains into vial D
Material E- 1 minispoon into vial E
Any changes to the picture sort?
Any changes to our Characteristics of Life display?
Record any changes on your
Five Materials Observation Sheet.
Please record your observations.
Do you see evidence of life in any of the vials?
Circulate and compare the vials with different liquids.
Liquid 2 is sugar and water. Sugar was added to provide food in case any of the materials was alive and needed sugar as food.
Did any of the vials with the sugar water provide interesting results?
Material B is yeast. The bubbling and popping of the cap are the result of gas exchange going on in the vial. Gas exchange is evidence of life. The yeast is living.
Please record your observations.
Any evidence of life?
Liquid 1- Salt water
Liquid 2- Sugar water
Liquid 3- Water
A: Red sand
C: Polyacrylate crystals
E: Brine shrimp eggs
The crystals are probably coming from the "super absorbent layer" found in most disposable diapers. This layer consists of paper fluff and a chemical absorbent called sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacrylate is an amazing water absorber -- it can absorb 200 to 300 times its weight in tap water (even more if the water is distilled) and hold it in a gooey gel.
Please fill in the information for the liquid environment that you investigated on Lab page 5.
We will share our information.
How many of the materials appeared to be alive when you first observed the bags?
Things are LIVING if they show the characteristics of life, like gas exchange, growth, and response to the environment. Living things are organisms. Parts of living organisms, like arms, tails and leaves, are also alive.
Things are DORMANT when they do not show characteristics of life until they are placed in the right environment. Dormant organisms are alive, but inactive.
Things are DEAD if they were alive at one time but no longer are. Animals that have died, leaves that have fallen off trees, and skin that a snake sheds are all dead material.
NONLIVING materials have never been alive. Fire, rocks, water, wind, pencils, toys, and computers are all nonliving.
Please read Life on Earth on page 21 in the Diversity of Life Resources book and answer the questions at the end of the activity.