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Elementary Science Education

Simple Outline of Lesson

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    • #441

      Trout Lily

      This is what I printed out to refer to during the lesson:

      Vocab: BIOLOGICAL (refers to any ‘critter’ that is currently living, was once living or is a part of what was once a living thing), RESOURCES, RAW MATERIALS, CONSERVATION

      Activity – collect items to classify and then sort according to
      Living or Biological – pets, shells, pinecones, bone, feather, leaves, piece of fruit
      Natural Nonliving – rocks, dirt, air, water, salt (if they don’t think of air/water, ask What did we leave out of this collection?)
      Human-Made – metals, plastic, paper, rubber, as well as THINGS MADE FROM WOOD OR OTHER biological material (include wooden block and polished stone (vs non-polished stone))

      -What are the attributes of living things? (they grow and reproduce, air, water, food, metabolism, cells although you can’t see those)(Plants vs Animals)
      1) orientation – a right side up, a head and a tail, a top and bottom
      2) symmetry – bilateral or radial
      3) fine structure and detail – veins of leaf, segments of feather, scales of fish. Use loupes. At close detail you can distinguish manmade, plastic from wood, for example.
      4) tenuous quality – prone to die. Cycle through aging and death.
      –Human-made things often have orientation and symmetry but lack other qualities. May require fuel or power to run but that is different from needs of living things.
      –How do we distinguish living/biological from natural nonliving?
      –How do you categorize a simple wooden block? (humans always start with RAW MATERIALS or RESOURCES to make things and they always come from the other two categories. Try to figure out what the raw material is to make these items.) Ask them to think of an exception.
      –Discuss CONSERVATION, that all resources are limited and thus we should always try to use as little material as we can in making something or doing a job (washing hands even)
      –How can you tell that ______ is living/nonliving/manmade? Write down the attributes.

      -Make book depicting the categories discussed and the points we use to distinguish them.

    • #887


      If asked if crude oil or natural gas is biological, what would you say? Is it biological since it was originally living organisms, regardless of the additional processes that have happened over time? Thank you.

    • #889

      Bernard Nebel

      Yes, I would classify crude oil as biological since it is derived from living organisms AND it would not be present without those organisms having lived. The same may be said for most of the natural gas, methane on Earth. However, methane is found to exist on other planets quite apart from life. Therefore, it might also be classified as a Natural Earth material. Recognize that the final breakdown products of biological materials, e.g., carbon dioxide and water, are natural earth materials. Methane seem to fall in the “crack” between.

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