Writing

You have learned the living things display nine specific characteristics:

Respond to external stimuli

Adapt to the environment

Contain materials found only in living organisms

Alter the environment

Use energy

Maintain a constant internal environment (homeostasis)

Sense the environment

Reproduce

Have a high degree of organization

These characteristics determine what something must have in order to be classified as biotic (alive) or abiotic (not alive). Please choose something inside your home and apply all nine criteria discussed in the Reading assignment to it. Before you arrive at Seminar, write down the name of each criterion and then state whether or not your selected object fulfills it.

During Seminar, examples of this kind of assessment will be discussed and you will have a chance to share yours. The importance of giving evidence for each one of the criteria will also be reviewed.

Be prepared to also discuss the following scenario:

Gerald proudly displays his pet rock, complete with its cardboard cage in his bedroom. His sister, Marianne, has a Chia Pet® in her bedroom. The Chia Pet is a planter shaped like a puppy, with sprouts growing on the puppy planter’s back and head simulating fur.

Using the nine characteristics of life listed in your unit Readings, prepare an argument supporting why one of the two pets is alive.

Discuss how you would use the scientific method to prove that the one pet is NOT alive.

Come prepared to discuss what counts as evidence in a scientific discussion.

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