This PowerPoint includes an intro activity into Living vs. Non-living things. Students brainstorm a list of characteristics that they think all living things have, or the needs of living things. They choose their top 5 and place them in the chart, and then go from station to station to analyze their specimens. This part takes about one day and helps the students understand that there are very specific criteria for living things.
Then, we go into the rest of the notes. I include other activities like diagramming, Jell-O cells, gummy bear osmosis labs, etc...to enhance the notes.