Lesson Plan

Characteristics of Living Organisms


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Big Ideas




In this lesson, students review the characteristics that all living things share with one another and the resources they need to survive. Students will also explore the components and functions of the cell and its role in larger body functions. Students will:

  1. identify shared characteristics of living organisms.
  2. identify resources necessary for all living things.
  3. order the levels of organization of life and identify examples at each level.

Essential Questions

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  1. Cell: Basic unit of all living things; a membrane-covered structure that contains all the materials necessary for life.
  2. Tissue: Group of cells functioning together.
  3. Organ: Group of tissues functioning together.
  4. Organ system: Group of organs functioning together.
  5. Organism: Group of organ systems functioning together.
  6. Population: A group of organisms of one species, living in a certain area.
  7. Community: An interacting group of various species in a common location.
  8. Multicellular: Organisms that are made up of more than one cell.
  9. Unicellular: One-celled organisms that must carry out all life functions in just one cell.


90 minutes/2 class periods

Prerequisite Skills


  1. Note Table example (S-6-4-1_Note Table and KEY.doc)
  2. copies of Favorite Animal Poster (S-6-4-1_Favorite Animal Poster.doc)
  3. Organization of Life Cards (S-6-4-1_Organization of Life Cards.doc), one set for each pair of students: copy, cut, and place in envelopes
  4. chart paper (optional)
  5. poster paper (optional)

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