Living things vs Non-living things

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One of the most basic questions that Biology answers is “What is life?“. How do we know if something is alive?

‘Life’ is the name or label used to separate things that are ‘animate’ from inanimate natural objects such as rocks and water and inanimate man-made objects like houses and windmills.

To explore this, let’s look at some examples of living and non-living things.

What are some living things?

Examples of Living Things

The crawling baby, the barking dog, the apple tree, the chirping bird, the fish in the pond, and the beetle on the flower  are all living – all of these share the characteristics or properties that define what life is.

Bacteria, algae and fungi are very different from the living things described above but possesses all the characteristics and are therefore also living things.

Can you make a list of what all the above have in common?

What are some non-living things?

Examples of Non-Living Things


The ‘artificial’ or man-made non-living things (a book, a car, a are clear to us, but what of the ones that occur in nature? Fire has some of these characteristics but not all – so it is not a living thing. Water flowing in a river, wood logs cut from a living tree, mountains, sunlight and wind are all non-living things.

Can you begin to guess what these characteristics are? Hint – there is a list….

So what are the characteristics of life? Click below to learn about them!

The Characteristics of Living Things

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As a 7th grader, Divya has a million ideas running through her head at any single moment. She's a creative force, and is the official design guru for, designing the infographics and digital art you see on the website. She loves reading, has been a blogger and prolific writer since Kindergarten and is an expert on Greek Mythology. She's also learning the art of video and audio design and editing. Checkout her STEAMism videos on YouTube!


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