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Life and Living Things Activities for Middle School Science

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As you prepare your middle school students to study biology, you will have to introduce them to concepts about life and living things. This lesson offers activities that will help make your instruction more meaningful.

Teaching Life and Living Things

As a middle school science teacher, one of your tasks is to help your students understand what life means on a scientific level. This also involves teaching students the different ways that living things are understood and classified.

Your students will be more engaged in your curriculum around life and living things if you plan activities you can incorporate into your instruction. Teaching with activities gives you a chance to engage students on their own levels and appeal to a variety of different learning styles and strengths. The activities in this lesson will help your students learn more about life and living things.

Visual Activities

This section provides activities that will appeal to the visual learners in your class, who might benefit from working with images and graphic organizers.

Classifying Life Forms

Let students work in small groups for this activity.

Each group should work with a set of ten to twenty different images of life forms, including plants, animals, and bacteria. Their task is to sort the images into different categories based on any method of classification they are able to justify. Then, have them glue the images in place to have a classification collage. Let students share their images with one another.

Diagram of Building Blocks

This is another activity that will work well in pairs or small groups.

Students should study the relationship among cells, tissues, and organs in living things. Then, they should create a poster of a diagram that illustrates this relationship and the different components making up cells, tissues, and organs. When students share their posters, they should use them as a springboard for a discussion of what it means for something to be alive.

Tactile Activities

Here, you will find activities that will teach your students about life and living things while requiring them to work with their hands and bodies.

Life and Living Things Walk

This activity helps you get your students outside, into your school neighborhood or community. Take a walk with your students, letting each of them carry a clipboard. They should make note of all of the different living things they see on their walk, jotting down a few descriptive notes about each thing.

Bring students back to the classroom to share their findings; encourage them to talk about what life forms are and are not visible to the naked eye, as well as how their findings might have looked different if your school were in a different location.

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