This week in first grade we learned about living and non-living things. It seems very easy to tell a living thing from a non-living one, but it’s not as easy as it appears! We conducted an experiment this week to further investigate this idea.
For our experiment, we placed a soaking wet cotton ball and radish seeds in a small cup, and in another cup we placed a foam grow creature covered with water. We made predictions about what we thought would happen the next day when we checked on them and talked about whether each one was living or non-living. Many students were convinced that the foam creature was alive because it “grew” when placed in the water.
The next day, students were anxious to check on their cups to see the progress of their seeds and creatures. There was a lot of excitement as many noticed that their seeds had sprouted and their foam creature had gotten larger. This sparked a discussion about what makes something living or non-living. We discussed that living things needed to make more of themselves, and since the foam creature was not capable of doing that, even though it “grew”, it was not actually a living thing.
The students loved the opportunity to investigate an idea and draw conclusions based on the results. The next time your child asks a math or science related question, find a way for them to come to the answer on their own. It will have more meaning to them and they will often have a better understanding in the end.