P3 Science

Characteristics of Living and Non-Living Things

This science revision note aims to help your child

– apply the characteristics of living and non-living things.

– explain your answer using the proper characteristics.

 

But before you read on, you might want to download this entire revision notes in PDF format to print it out for your child, or to read it later.

This will be delivered to your email inbox.

The diagram below shows some objects.

(a) In the table below, categorise the objects into living or non-living things.

(b) Ariola was sitting in her father’s car while her father was driving. She thought about what she learnt about living and non-living things, and concluded that the car is a living thing because it can move. Do you agree with Ariola? Why or why not?

 

Let’s answer Part (A)

Categorise the objects into living or non-living things.

STEP 1

 

Identify the characteristics of living things and non-living things.

Living things:

  • Need air, food and water to survive
  • Can move by themselves
  • Can respond to changes
  • Can grow
  • Can reproduce
  • Can die

 

Non-living things are the opposite:

  • Do not require air, food and water
  • Cannot move by themselves
  • Cannot respond to changes
  • Cannot grow by themselves
  • Cannot reproduce
  • Cannot die

STEP 2

Go through each of the objects and determine whether they have the characteristics of living things or non-living things.

 

1) Butterfly

  • Need air, food and water to survive? Yes.
  • Can move by itself? Yes, they can fly.
  • Can respond to changes? Yes.
  • Can grow? Yes.
  • Can reproduce? Yes, butterflies can reproduce through laying eggs.
  • Can die? Yes.

Hence, a butterfly is a living thing.

 

2) Water

  • Need air, food and water to survive? No.
  • Can move by itself? No (Water can move but not by itself. It can only move if someone or something moves it).
  • Can respond to changes? No.
  • Can grow? No.
  • Can reproduce? No.
  • Can die? No.

Hence, water is a non-living thing.

 

3) Apple

  • Need air, food and water to survive? No.
  • Can move by itself? No.
  • Can respond to changes? No.
  • Can grow? No, an apple cannot grow once it is plucked from the tree.
  • Can reproduce? No.
  • Can die? No.

Hence, an apple is a non-living thing.

 

4) Plant

  • Need air, food and water to survive? Yes. A plant gets air through its leaves, makes its own food through its leaves, and gets water from the soil through its roots.
  • Can move by itself? Yes. Although you usually do not see it, plants can move.
  • Can respond to changes? Yes. An example is how plants respond to light – plants grow towards sunlight.
  • Can grow? Yes.
  • Can reproduce? Yes, plants can reproduce through seeds or spores.
  • Can die? Yes.

Hence, a plant is a living thing.

 

5) Fried Chicken

  • Need air, food and water to survive? No.
  • Can move by itself? No.
  • Can respond to changes? No.
  • Can grow? No.
  • Can reproduce? No.
  • Can die? No.

Hence, fried chicken is a non-living thing.

 

FINALLY, put your answer together

Question: In the table below, categorise the objects into living or non-living things.

Answer:

Let’s answer PART (B)

Ariola was sitting in her father’s car while her father was driving. She thought about what she learnt about living and non-living things and concluded that the car is a living thing because it can move. Do you agree with Ariola? Explain your answer.

 

STEP 1

 

Determine if Ariola’s reasoning is correct.

Ariola said that the car is a living thing because it can move.

Let’s recap the characteristics of living things – living things can move by themselves. Can the car move by itself? No, it can’t! The car is only moving because Ariola’s father is driving it.

Hence, Ariola’s reasoning is wrong, and we can conclude that we do not agree with her.

 

STEP 2

What other reasons is Ariola’s statement wrong? Consider what the other characteristics of living things are.

Living things:

  • Need air, food and water to survive
  • Can respond to changes
  • Can grow
  • Can reproduce
  • Can die

Let’s check if a car fits any of these criteria:

  • Need air, food and water to survive? No.
  • Can respond to changes? No.
  • Can grow? No.
  • Can reproduce? No.
  • Can die? No.

Hence, we can confirm that Ariola’s conclusion that the car is a living thing is incorrect. Instead, it is a non-living thing.

 

FINALLY, put your answer together

Question: Do you agree with Ariola? Explain your answer.

Answer:

I disagree with Ariola. The car cannot move by itself. The car is only moving because Ariola’s father is driving it.

Also, the car does not need air, food and water OR cannot respond to changes OR cannot grow OR cannot reproduce. (choose any one of the characteristics)

Hence, it is a non-living thing.

 

 

Learning pointer

Always consider all the characteristics to determine if it is a living or non-living thing.

You can download this revision notes so your child can revise them anytime.

This will be delivered to your email inbox.

P3 P4 Science GuideBook

Purchase this P3 P4 Science Revision Guidebook for your child

 

Included inside this ebook:

Over 120 pages of detailed science concepts provided

14 challenging exam-based questions for your child to apply the science concepts.

– Detailed explanation videos of 6 exam-based questions

 

Click on the button below to find out more about this ebook

Join the ScienceShifu Channel to get the latest learning tips.

 

Benefits of joining ScienceShifu on Telegram:

– Be the first to receive science revision notes from us

– Receive special promotions on all our online courses. 

 

Click on the button below to join the ScienceShifu channel:

Follow the ScienceShifu Instagram Channel to learn more science concepts

 

Benefits of joining Instagram:

– Watch out for interesting posts from ScienceShifu explaining science concepts

– Short videos where I will be going through past year exam questions

 

Click on the button below to follow the ScienceShifu Instagram Channel:

Talk again soon!

Andy Ling

Guiding your child to be the master of science concepts

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*