Name: __________________________________ Period: _____

Characteristics of Life

Living or Non-Living?


 Think about the properties of each item on the list. Place a check in each column that applies to the item. If it has all the characteristics of life, put an L in the last column to indicate that it is a living item. If not, put N for non-living.












Property of Life

made of one or more cells

has DNA (genetic material)

grows and develops

responds to stimuli


stable internal environment (homeostasis)

use materials and energy (metabolism)

evolve (as a group, over time)


1: Stone



2:  Lego ®



3: Shell



4: Plant leaf



5: Air



6: Yogurt (be sure to read container!)



7: Water



8: Yeast (in packet)










9: Apple










10. Snapping turtle











11. Balloon










12. Lichen (whitish substance on the bark)











Directions: Answer the following questions using COMPLETE sentences.


  1. How did your group decide if each of the objects were “LIVING”? How did you know an object was “NON-LIVING”?












Turn over!!

  1. Match the situations (a-h) with one or more of the characteristics of life (1-8). Write the number or numbers next to the letter. (More than one may be correct)


Characteristic of Life

a. a cell divides ____________

1. made of one or more cells

b. a giraffe eats leaves off a tree____________

2. has DNA (genetic material)

c. when using a microscope you see liver cells ____________

3. grows and develops

d. you get goose bumps when it’s cold ____________

4. responds to stimuli

e. plants capture sunlight to make glucose ____________

5. reproduces

f. a sperm cell and egg cell fuse to make a zygote____________

6. stable internal environment

g. a rabbit’s fur turns white in the winter ____________

7. use materials and energy

h. giraffe neck lengthened over many generations ____________


8. evolve as a group, over time