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Unit 1: Living organisms and the environment Lesson 1: Characteristics of living things

NOSTT National open school of Trinidad and Tobago'

The characteristics of living things

Lesson objectives

At the end of this lesson you will be able to 1. list the characteristics of living things 2. distinguish between living and non-living things 3. explain each characteristic in detail

(see pages 6-9 in textbook)

1. The characteristics of living things are

 Growth  Reproduction  Irritability  Movement  Nutrition  Excretion  Respiration

2. distinguish between living and non-living things

• all living things grow, reproduce, are irritable, move, feed or show nutrition, excrete and respire. • Non-living things do not carry out all of the characteristics above • It may be difficult to observe all the characteristics in a particular organism, for example most plants move very slowly by growth movements • Some non-living things may seem to grow or even move on their own but they are not made of cells like living things

3. explain each characteristic in detail

GROWTH – is a permanent increase in the size or mass of an organism by the addition of new cells to its body. If an organism is only made up of one cell then it grows by the addition of material to its cytoplasm.

REPRODUCE – is the ability to produce more organisms just like themselves
IRRITABILITY – is the ability to detect changes in the environment called stimuli
MOVEMENT – is the ability to move part or the entire body, animals need to move to find food but plants do not move much as they male their own food
NUTRITION – all living things require materials for energy, to grow, move and do everything else
EXCRETE – this is the ability to get rid of waste byproducts produced in the cells as a result of chemical reactions
RESPIRATION – this is the process by which energy is released from food by chemical reactions which occur in cells.


Consider the following things and use the characteristics of life to determine if it is living or non-living by using your own knowledge of them.

a.) A dog b.) A car c.) A virus d.) A mango tree.

1.) This is a picture of a virus. Is it living?

Also questions nos. 3-6 on pg. 14 in text.