Prior Characteristics of Life Knowledge
This biology lesson plan was created to be used in conjunction with the other lesson plans in this series, the Characteristics if Life Series. Before using this particular lesson plan with your students, please use the first lesson plan in this series to familiarize students with the definition of the characteristics of life as they will need an idea of what the characteristics of life are and how they work together in the development of living things.
Teachers, before instructing students on the specifics of reproduction as a characteristic of life, try asking students what is needed in order for a species to survive. Let them discuss this question and sooner or later they will (hopefully) come up with reproduction as an answer. Explain to students that there are some characteristics of life that are characteristics that living things actively participate in. Reproduction is one of them. Acquiring materials and energy is another. The other characteristics of life are sometimes done without the knowledge of the organism, such as homeostasis and without any active effort on the part of the organism.
Review with your students the characteristics of life listed below that living things actively participate in.
Acquiring Materials and Energy
In order for an organism to survive, it must at the minimum be able to find nourishment and other items from the environment that can be converted into energy. They use this energy to perform functions that sustain life. Discuss various ways that living things may acquire energy and materials such as foraging for food, vitamin absorption through sunlight. Ask students to discuss various ways that the organisms listed below might acquire materials and energy.
- humans-Some examples may include foraging or hunting for food, breathing in oxygen and absorption of sunlight.
- trees- A good way to explain how trees actively seek to acquire energy is to take students outdoors and show them how trees grow toward the sunlight.
- slugs- Shed light on slugs acquiring materials by discussing how they search fro empty shells to make into their homes.
- birds- Discuss various methods of birds building their nests and acquiring food for themselves and their young.
Discuss reproduction with your students as a means to perpetuate the life of the species. Introduce your students to the various methods of reproduction listed below, then ask them to complete the activity in the next section.
Sexual: Requires a male and female of the species to participate in bringing together a sperm cell and an egg cell to create a new living being. This form of reproduction combines the genetics of two members of the species
Asexual: There are 3 types of asexual reproduction. They are listed and defined below. It’s important to note that all forms of asexual reproduction use the genetics of one living being, therefore the offspring will be genetically similar to the parent.
- Budding-This process is common in plant species. A "bud" grows on the organism until it has grown enough to become its own independent organism.
- Regeneration- Common to invertebrates, this is the process of growing limbs, organs or other tissues to replace damaged ones.
- Fission- Also known as binary fission, this is the process of an organism dividing into two separate organisms such as in cellular division.
When talking with your students about reproduction, students may bring up the topic of the inability of some organisms of species to reproduce, for example a barren mother or a plant that does not get pollinated. Help your students to understand that only a certain amount of a particular species must reproduce in order to perpetuate the species. Then, ask them to do one or more of the activities below.
- Create a name for a species. Imagine that there are currently 100 members of the species. They each live 50 years. Their reproduction methods are sexual. For every female born there are two males. If each female that can reproduce has 3 children in their lifetime and only half the females are able to reproduce, how long will this species be able to survive? Discuss the reasoning behind your answer.
- Pick an endangered species. Do some research to find out about how many survivors are left in this species. Come up with a plan for this species that will help it reverse its endangered status.
- Review the worldwide endangered species list. Write an essay on any patterns you see that are prevalent among endangered species. For instance is an endangered species more likely to be asexual or sexual? What areas of the world have the most endangered species? Are most endangered species on this list because of their own failings as a species or is it due to outside interventions such as hunting?
These activities and lesson plan should help your students to develop an in depth understanding of a species active responsibility to reproduce as well as to acquire materials and energy.
This post is part of the series: Characteristics of Life Series
- Introducing the Characteristics of Life
- Science Lesson Plan: Biological Organization
- Lesson Plan: Reproduction in Biology
- Lesson Plan: Homeostasis as a Characteristic of Life
- Biology Lesson Plan: How Animals & Organisms Adapt