Difference between living and non living things
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ORCHIDS The International School

Nature Around Us

Concept : Living and Non-living Things

Living and Non-living things:

Nature around us is full of different things classified broadly into living things and non-living things.

  • Living things breathe, eat, give birth to young ones, move, grow, display feelings and finally die when they are old.

  • Examples: Human beings, animals, birds, insects, etc.

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  • Non-living things do not have feelings, do not breathe, do not eat, do not give birth to young ones, do not show movement, do not grow old and do not die.

  • Examples: Objects that we see around us like tables, chairs, books, bottles, cupboards, windows, clocks, etc.

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Features of Living things:

The important features of living things are discussed below—

1. Living beings breathe:

  • Living things need to breathe constantly to stay alive. They do so by taking in and blowing out air.
  • Some living things breathe quickly while some others breathe slowly.
  • Animals, including human beings, take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide, whereas plants utilise this carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
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2. Living beings need food:

  • Just like breathing, living things need food every for staying alive. It gives them the energy to live.
  • Plants make their food by the process called photosynthesis.
  • Animals (including humans) get their food and energy by eating other animals and plants.
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3. Living beings give birth to young ones:

  • It is a unique feature that makes living things completely different from non-living things.
  • Living things give birth to young ones and make more of themselves to continue their lineage.Plants make their food by the process called photosynthesis.
  • All living beings create their young ones in different ways.
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4. Living beings show movement:

  • Living things can move from one place to another. They move to fetch some things, in search of food or to find a suitable place to live.
  • Birds and some insects fly from one place to another.
  • Plants do not move from one place to another as we do, but they show some movements like the movement towards sunlight, opening and closing of flowers, downward growth of roots, etc.
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5. Living beings have feelings:

  • Unlike non-living beings, living beings have feelings.
  • They become angry, sad, happy and scared.
  • They respond in different ways to different situations.
  • Plants also respond. For example, leaves of the touch-me-not plant curl when somebody touches them.
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6. Living beings die:

  • After a certain age, living things die naturally due to old age or ill-health.
  • After attaining old age, living things gradually lose their ability to perform all the activities required to live and eventually die.
  • All living beings die at different ages. Some live for many years like tortoises, while some live for just a few days like mayflies.

Features of Non-living things:

The features of non-living things are exactly the opposite of living things. It is depicted in the following image—

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Differences between Living and Non-living things:

Differences between Living and Non-living things:

Living Things Non-living Things
1. They breathe. 1. They do not breathe.
2. They eat regularly. 2. No need for eating.
3. They have senses and feelings. 3. No senses or feelings.
4. They grow by age, weight and size. 4. They cannot grow by themselves.
5. They give birth to young ones. 5. They cannot give birth to young ones.
6. They show movement. 6. They cannot move on their own.
7. They die when they are old. 7. They disintegrate after a certain period of time.

Why are some non-living things confused as living ones?

  • You might think that why cars and buses on the roads are moving despite being non-living things.
  • However, these do not move on their own. Cars and other vehicles use fuels like petrol and diesel to move, and humans drive them to different places.
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Need of living and non-living things:

  • Living things need food, water, sunlight, air and shelter to stay alive.
  • Non-living things do not have such requirements but they require occasional maintenance and care.
  • For example, vehicles need monthly repair and maintenance.
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New Words:

  • Photosynthesis: The process by which plants prepare their food using sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, etc.
  • Fuels: These burn to produce heat and energy like petrol and diesel. The energy produced helps the vehicles to move from one place to another.

Did You Know?

  • The slowest breather in the world is the tortoise. In one minute, it breathes about 3-4 breaths but lives till 150 years. Dogs breathe 24 times in one minute and live for about 13 to 15 years.
  • The time for which a living being stays alive is called its lifespan.
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Examples:

  1. Tiger: 8-10 years
  2. Lion: 8-10 years
  3. Giraffe: 26 years
  4. Crow: 15-20 years
  5. Cat: 12-18 years
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  • Viruses are organisms that exist between living and non-living beings. It shows the features of a living thing when it is present in a host body (like an animal, bird, human being etc.) and acts like a non-living thing when outside the host body.
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