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Living and Non-living things

  • Living things are organisms that have life in them. They are grouped into plants and animals.
  • Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Matter is classified into living things and non-living things. Matter exists in three states:
    • Solid state
    • Liquid state
    • Gaseous state
  • Objects in the solid state have definite shape and volume.
  • Objects in the liquid state have a definite volume but not shape. They take the shape of the container.
  • Materials which occur in the gaseous state do not have definite shapes.
Differences between Plants and Animals
  • In terms of structure;
    • Plants have roots and stem whereas animals do not.
    • Plants have flowers, fruits and seeds whereas animals do not.
    • Plants have chlorophyll whereas animals do not.
    • Plants have no definite shape but animals do.
  • In terms of function;
    • Animals can move from one place to the other while plants cannot.
    • Plants can make their own food through photosynthesis while animals cannot.
    • Animals possess complex organs for breathing while plants do not.
  • Non-living things are things that do not have life in them. They are grouped into metals and non-metals. Examples are stone, wood, plastic, iron, air etc.

The characteristics of living things are:

  • Movement: This is change in position. Movement of an organism from one place to another is known as locomotion. The types of movement are:
    • Active Movement – When a living thing moves by its own energy
    • Passive Movement – When a living thing is carried by wind, water or other animals.
    • Bending Movement – This occurs when a plant bends toward the light, water or gravity.
  • Nutrition: This means obtaining food, chewing it, digesting it and using it to grow. Animals are grouped according to what they eat;
    • Herbivores – They feed on plants as found in sheep and goat.
    • Carnivores – They feed on flesh of other animals as in dog, cat and lion.
    • Omnivores – They feed on both plants and flesh of other animals e.g. man, monkey, gorilla.
  • Respiration: This is the breaking down of food to release energy.
    Living Thing Respiratory Organ
    Human Beings Lungs
    Toad/Frog Skin, Mouth, Lungs
    Reptiles (Lizards, Snakes) Lungs
    Insects Spiracles
    Fishes Gills
    Birds Lungs
  • Excretion: This is the removal of waste product from the body.
    Human Excretory Organ Excretory Products
    Kidney Urine
    Lungs Carbon-dioxide and Water Vapor
    Skin Salt and Water (Sweat)
    Liver Bile Pigment
  • Growth: This is increase in size, length and mass of a living thing.
  • Reproduction: This is the process by which living things make copies of themselves. It means to give birth to young ones.
  • Irritability: This is the process by which living things respond to stimulus (changes) in their environment.
Sense Organs and Their Functions
Human Sense Organs Functions
Ears Hearing
Nose Smell
Eyes Sight
Skin Touch
Tongue Taste
  • Metals are shining, i.e., they have metallic luster. Metals can rust. They can be drawn into wire, i.e., they are ductile. They can be hammered into sheets, i.e., they are malleable. They are hard and are good conductors of heat and electricity.
  • Non-metals do not have metallic luster. They cannot rust. They cannot be drawn into a wire. They cannot be hammered, i.e., they are brittle. They are generally soft except diamond. They do not conduct heat and electricity.
Uses of Metals
  • Iron and steel: They are used in making motor vehicles, poles, electric fan, generators, constructing bridges.
  • Copper: They are used in making electric wire.
  • Tin: They are used in making containers and covering of iron to prevent rusting.
  • Aluminum: They are used in making electric wire and cooking pots.
  • Zinc: They are used in making torch batteries.
  • Lead: They are used in making car and lorry batteries.
Uses of Non-metals
  • Rubber/Plastic: They are used in covering electric wire as insulator against electric shock.
  • Wood/Planks: They are used in making furniture and building houses.
  • Sulphur: Used in making medicine.
  • Oxygen: Used in respiration and burning.
  • Chlorine: Used in disinfecting water.
  • Nitrogen: Component of protein.
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