Characteristics of Life Inquiry Activity

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68 Ratings
It's Not Rocket Science
Grade Levels
7th - 10th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
7 pages
It's Not Rocket Science


In this introductory inquiry activity, students will work with a partner or in a small group to categorize cards as living or nonliving. Through class discussion and argumentation, students will come up with a class list of which cards fall into each category, as well as a list of qualifications for how they determined what they consider to be alive. This activity is a great way to kick off the school year or your ecology unit by having students critically think, engage in discussion, make claims substantiated by reasoning, and work together in small groups and as a class.

How can I use this?

      • First day of school activity in a biology classroom

      • Introduction to ecology inquiry activity, prior to teaching on the characteristics of life

What is included?

      • 2 pages of teacher implementation notes

      • 24 cards (that you will need to print, cut, and laminate)

      • Answer Key

How much class time will this take?

This can take anywhere from 15 minutes – 45 minutes depending on how much support you give your students, how much you question and press them to defend their choices, and how much they disagree on what is the “right” answer. You can truly do this as a quick intro. or stretch it for a full day activity. I use this to introduce my Ecology unit and after we go through a short set of notes on what ecology is and the characteristics for life.

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Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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