What is LIFE? class8.gif


In order to be alive, an object (or group of objects) must meet all of the following characteristics:

  1. Have an organized body made of one or more cells
  2. Grow and develop
  3. Reproduce (hence the "group of objects" - not all individuals reproduce, but some must!)
  4. Respond to the environment around it (short, fast responses AND long-term changes)
  5. Take in and use energy
  6. Exchange gases with environment

There are other, more complex characteristics, but we'll start with these.

In addition, all living things have common needs:

  1. Water (which is why we spend so much time looking for water on other planets! Water = the possibility of life!)
  2. A habitat (NOT "shelter" or a "home" - those are more specific for animals)
  3. A source of energy (from sun, food, etc.)
  4. Raw materials (vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, etc.)

In this project, students will be exploring how different organisms on earth meet these different characteristics and needs. The diversity of life on Earth is astounding, and living things have found ways to take advantage of every type of environment!

Organism Kingdom
Organism Phylum
Organism Class
Examples
Bacteria (Eubacteria)


E. coli
Protista
Plant-like protists

Algae, diatoms
Protista
Protozoans (animal-like)

Amoeba, Paramecium
Fungi


Mushrooms, molds
Plantae
Nonvascular

Mosses, Liverworts
Plantae
Seedless vascular

Ferns, Horsetails
Plantae
Seed vascular
Gymnosperms
Conifers, pine trees
Plantae
Seed vascular
Angiosperms (flowering)
Flowers, fruit trees
Animalia
Porifera

Sponges
Animalia
Cnidaria

Jellyfish, anemones
Animalia
Platyhelminthes (flatworms)

Tapeworms, planarians
Animalia
Nematoda (roundworms)

Roundworms, hookworms
Animalia
Mollusca
Gastropods
Snails, slugs
Animalia
Mollusca
Bivalves
Clams, oysters
Animalia
Mollusca
Cephalopods
Squid, octopus
Animalia
Annelida (segmented worms)

Earthworms, leeches
Animalia
Arthropoda
Insects
Bees, ants
Animalia
Arthropoda
Arachnids
spiders, scorpions
Animalia
Arthropoda
Crustaceans
Crabs, crayfish
Animalia
Echinodermata

Sea stars, sea urchins
Animalia
Vertebrata
Chondrichthyes
Sharks, rays
Animalia
Vertebrata
Osteichthyes
Bony fish (guppies, catfish, etc)
Animalia
Vertebrata
Amphibians
Frogs, salamanders
Animalia
Vertebrata
Reptiles
Snakes, turtles
Animalia
Vertebrata
Aves
Birds (sparrow, goose)
Animalia
Vertebrata
Mammals*
Humans, wolves, dolphins
Project Guidelines:
Grading Rubric (or, How to Get an "A"):
Review questions: