Living or Nonliving?by: Britt Legaspi and William Straits

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First-grade lessons on life science and classification address misconceptions.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (12)
  • on Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:22 PM

I loved reading about how first graders can explore living and nonliving things that aligns with the two standards: Abilities necessary to do science inquiry and Understanding about science inquiry. There were some great questions to guide students in learning such as: "Have you ever seen it move, does it need to eat or drink?"

Hannah Tweedy
Hannah Tweedy

  • on Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:07 PM

I loved reading about how Mrs. Legaspi was inspired to build on her students understanding of living vs. nonliving objects. After her students gave her enthusiastic yeses to the question, "Are rocks living?", she knew these students need exploration and inquiry to build their knowledge. She came up with a creative way to do this allowing the students to find objects on their playground and then use questioning and reasoning to come up with their own class-made criteria for living, nonliving, and dead objects.

Sarah F
Sarah F

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:23 PM

This is a great article providing an experience from a first grate teacher. The article goes through the thought process of a child classifying if a rock was living or nonliving. I liked how this article gave a rubric for the lesson along with journal reflections and technology tips.

Rebecca B
Rebecca B

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:54 PM

I find this article very interesting. I find that I often ask the wrong questions when dealing with this topic. I like how this article gives examples of the right questions to ask. The article also provides the properties of both living and dead things, which is great for a teacher to use.

Brian S
Brian S

  • on Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:25 PM

In this article first-grade students explore the differences between living and non-living objects and the characteristics that help define each. The author provided a detailed, specific rubric for assessing students' knowledge about classification. This article provides all the information a teacher would need to know when teaching a Unit about Living vs. Non-living Objects for the first time.

Travis V
Travis V

  • on Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:54 PM

In this article, an Elementary teachers talks about how he taught the students to compare and contrast about living things, non-living things, and the dead. I loved how he hooked the students into the lesson. I also like how the article talks about the author's experience throughout the lesson. It gave me a good perspective of how I should conduct this lesson in a class so the students can be engaged and learn a great deal of the content.

Seth Kwizera  (Houston, TX)
Seth Kwizera (Houston, TX)

  • on Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:12 PM

Using a previous teaching experience, the teacher immediately captivated the reader’s attention by illustrating the thought process of a seven-year-old student through a simple, yet highly informative Q&A session. The results of this article proved that hands-on, real-world activities made a huge impact on these first-grade students. By asking the right kind of questions and providing multiple opportunities to challenge their thinking, students in this class were able to differentiate between living and nonliving things. With the ever increasing presence of technology in the classroom and the daily lives of students, the use of digital cameras, camcorders, or document cameras would be excellent resources to utilize instead of relying on student illustrations. I believe that this would be a quicker, easier alternative that would allow for more accurate comparisons. I found the student-led teaching approach demonstrated throughout this article to be very refreshing and productive.

Lacy Garrison
Lacy Garrison

  • on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:34 AM

This article written by a first grade teacher is a great lesson on classifying and observing. She starts out with some humorous misconceptions about rocks being alive or not. Then she goes on to give an excellent series of lessons on observation and classifying of objects being alive, once alive, not alive. She allows her students to figure out for themselves if rocks are really alive.

Betty  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:52 AM

First grade students explore the topic of living vs nonliving concepts starting with the right questions. These questions lead the authors to realize that some children had misconceptions about this topic. This article provides a simple rubric that can be used for classification of living vs nonliving. After further exploration of student understands the classification was expanded to living, nonliving and dead with students justifying their choices.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:27 PM

In this article, the author outlines an activity to help students learn to distinguish living things from nonliving things. Outlining the 5 criteria to define living things, the author provides a living vs. nonliving classification rubric, information on addressing student misconception, and ideas for using this lesson with English language learners. This article includes fresh ideas for elementary-level educators teaching about living vs. nonliving things. While the article describes the author experience with a first grade class, the activity can be modify for use by kinder through 2 grade classes.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:52 PM

Primary teachers are often asked to teach basic concepts about the characteristics of living things and life cycles. This article addresses children in the first grade. It is during the primary years that teachers help children to transition from the pre-operational to the concrete operational stage. This article explains how the author scaffolds what the child already knows, into how to observe and to articulate their own thinking to others, and the skill of asking themselves provocative questions. The author provides a rubric for assessment, technology tips, journal reflections, and English Learner strategies. This article provides everything a Primary teacher would need to know in implementing a Unit about Living & Nonliving.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Thu May 12, 2011 3:51 PM

First grade teacher Britt Legaspi, prompted by the responses of her first grade student's misconceptions about rocks being 'alive' developed inquiry lessons for her students based on Jean Piaget stages of cognition.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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