Unit 1 Section 2: Understanding life


Part a | Part b  | Part c | Lab 1 | Lab 2 | Review quiz part a & b | Review quiz part c  | Quizstar

  1. Life
  2. Organization
  3. Cell
  4. Tissue
  5. Organ
  6. Organ system
  7. Organism
  8. Energy
  9. Hydrolysis
  10. Macromolecule
  11. polymer
  1. Response
  2. Growth
  3. Reproduction
  4. Adaptation
  5. Ethics
  6. Biochemistry
  7. Organic compound
  8. Microscope parts
  9. Dehydration synthesis
  10. Monomer
  11. Homeostasis
  12. Glucose molecule
  1. Carbohydrate
  2. Monosaccharide
  3. Disaccharide
  4. Polysaccharide
  5. Protein
  6. Amino Acid
  7. Lipid
  8. Nucleic acid
  9. Magnification
  10. Polar molecule
  11. ATP, ADP, AMP


Section 2 - Understanding life: Part a

 S4.C5.PO(2,5) C2.PO(3) 

Life is Defined by its Characteristics

click to find the answer to today's question What is needed for a species to survive?

Exactly what life is and how it starts is one of the most difficult problems in science. There is no simple statement that can be used to define life. The only sure way to define life is to describe its characteristics.

The characteristics of life are:

  1. DNA:
    • All living organisms contain DNA, the genetic code for life.
    • Genetic code language is the same for all living organisms.
  2. Organization/Order:
    • Both molecular and cellular organization.
    • Living things must be able to organize simple substances into complex ones.
    • Living things organize cells at several levels:
      • Tissue - a group of cells that perform a common function.
      • Organ - a group of tissues that perform a common function.
      • Organ system - a group of organs that perform a common function.
      • Organism - any complete living thing.
  3. Energy Use:
    • Living things take in energy and use it for maintenance and growth.
  4. Response to environment:
    • Living things will make changes in response to a stimulus in their environment.
    • A behavior is a complex set of responses.
  5. Growth & development
    • Cell division - the orderly formation of new cells.
    • Cell enlargement - the increase in size of a cell.
  6. Reproduction:
    • Reproduction is not essential for the survival of individual organisms, but must occur for a species to survive.
    • All living things reproduce in one of the following ways:
      • Sexual reproduction - Producing offspring by the joining of sex cells.
      • Asexual reproduction - Producing offspring without the use of gametes.
  7. Evolution/Adaptation
  8. Regulation
    • Living organisms will maintain homeostasis
    • Regulation of a stable internal environment even when external environment is changing
    • metabolism.

Assignment 1.2a - Understanding life
Scoring criteria
link to a local webpage

Right click on this and select, "save target as" and save the video to the desktop. After the video has downloaded do the following:

Section 1

  1. Review the characteristics of life given on this web page above. Copy them to this  link to a local webpage   table.
  2. Watch the video, "The Characteristics of Living Things"
  3. List and number the characteristics of living things given in the video.
  4. Using the table match the characteristics of life given by the video with the characteristic of life given on this web page above by typing them into the columns next to each other.
  5. Look closely at the details provided for each characteristics as some may match with more then one.
  6. If any items on each list cannot be matched put them on the bottom table.
  7. Determine if these items are alive:  A. Fire  B. Virus  C. Seed   Justify your answers.
Section 2
  1. Name some non-living things that use energy.
  2. Name some non-living things that grow.
  3. Do all living things have all of the characteristics of life? (viruses, etc) If your answer is no, give an example.
  4. If we were to try to define and describe if something was living that was not of our planet explain how you think our current characteristics used to describe living objects might change?
  5. Do you think that our planet is the only planet with life? Explain

Section 2 - Understanding life: Part b


click to find the answer to today's question What is the minimum length of an essay?

click for a career
A system defining right and wrong.link to an Internet Website

A system of ethics is usually established by each culture. Right and wrong behaviors are often different from one culture to another. We even see differences in ethics within a single culture. Many areas of disagreement are found in things having to do with the life sciences.

Here are just a few areas in life science that involve ethics:

Assignment  1.2b - Understanding life

Section 1

  1. What are ethics?
  2. What are your ethics?
  3. Why are ethics such an important part of the life sciences?
  4. Who decides what is right and wrong?
  5. Why are ethics different throughout the world? Give examples.
  6. Research and list two specific ethical issues involving biology.
  7. Give a brief (one paragraph) summary, in your words, of each item in question 6.
  8. What is your position on the two issues you found? Explain.

Section 2
  1. Review science essays.link to a local webpage
  2. Use this planning guidelink to a local webpage to write an essay about ethics in some area of life science.
  3. Before beginning the essay, study this essay evaluation rubric.link to a local webpage The rubric shows you how to make a good score on the essay.

Turn in the essay and the rubric with the self-evaluation portion completed to your science facilitator.
Remember to always staple the rubric on top of the paper the rubric was used on.


Research Links:











Individuals must reproduce if a species is to survive.










An essay must have at least three paragraphs.