Exploring Living And Non-Living Things

Exploring Living And Non-Living Things

Lesson 6 of 8 in this unit

  • Cool+
  • Primary
  • Year 3 - 4
  • Science
  • Biology
  • Environmental
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainability
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students investigate how to distinguish between living and non-living things. They begin by thinking about the living and non-living things in their classroom before attempting to classify a range of things as living or non-living. They are then introduced to the MRS GREN tool, and use it in conjunction with the example of a beetle to explore how to determine if something is living or nonliving. They then create their own drawing or 3D model of a spider to demonstrate the attributes that qualify it as a living creature. Finally, students return to their original classifications and work to reclassify these things as living or non-living based on what they learnt in the lesson.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand the difference between living and non-living things
  • recognise the value of a tool for assessing if things are living or nonliving.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • apply the MRS GREN checklist tool to various things to determine if they are living or non-living
  • make a drawing or 3D model
  • apply and use critical thinking skills
  • work collaboratively and independently
  • participate in class and group discussions.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions: 

Year 3 Science:

  • compare characteristics of living and non-living things and examine the differences between the life cycles of plants and animals (AC9S3U01)
  • write and create texts to communicate findings and ideas for identified purposes and audiences, using scientific vocabulary and digital tools as appropriate (AC9S3I06)

Year 4 Science:

  • explain the roles and interactions of consumers, producers and decomposers within a habitat and how food chains represent feeding relationships (AC9S4U01)
  • write and create texts to communicate findings and ideas for identified purposes and audiences, using scientific vocabulary and digital tools as appropriate (AC9S4I06)

Syllabus outcomes: ST2-10LW, ST2-4WS, ST2-11LW

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3 achievement standards: Students group living things based on observable features and distinguish them from non-living things, and they use diagrams and other representations to communicate their ideas.

Relevant parts of Year 4 achievement standards: Students describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal. They use formal and informal ways to communicate their observations and findings.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: Investigating Invertebrates – Lower Primary

Resources required

  • MRS GREN and the beetle – worked example
  • Device capable of presenting a website to the class
  • Insect Life-cycles
  • Materials for drawing OR materials for 3D model (modelling clay or playdough and paper for labels)
  • MRS GREN Image
  • Scientific Drawing Guidelines
  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student
  • Whiteboard and markers


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration

Additional info

Time required: 100 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee discussions and lead students in activities

This is an original Cool+ lesson.

lesson saved in resources




More from this unit

See all
  • Lesson 3 of 8
  • Cool+
  • ...

Finding Invertebrates

  • Primary
  • Foundation
  • Year 1
  • Science
  • Biology
  • Environmental
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainability
See all