Science on Stage 1 & 2 Biology Dead or alive? d Establish whether the peas are living or non-living You will need…. Some peas water A container and lid Splints and lighter Eager students! Background: All living things share seven characteristics: growth, respiration, movement, nutrition, excretion, reproduction and response. However it can be difficult to observe some of these characteristics. It may not be obvious that seeds, including peas, are alive. Germinating plants respire, taking in oxygen and producing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide does not support combustion. Follow these steps: 1. Ask the students some questions about living and nonliving things before asking if peas are alive. 2. For the experiment give the students a container, put some peas inside with a little water and secure the lid. Challenge the students to prove that the peas are alive. 3. With a little time and discussion the students should be able to put the pieces together and conclude that if the peas are alive and have had some time to respire the available oxygen will be depleted and replaced with carbon dioxide. 4. If the peas are alive the environment within the container should extinguish a lighted splint. So what happened? As the peas soaked up the water the conditions were right for germination. As they germinated, oxygen was depleted and carbon dioxide was produced. A lighted splint was extinguished when inserted into the container showing that the oxygen concentration was reduced. What next? 1. Try this with other seeds. Will this work without the water? 2. Why will the same test not work with a seedling or adult plant in a sealed jar? 3. How many of the characteristics of living things are demonstrated?