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Is it living on non-living?

Think about your trip to school this morning. What did you see on the way? Did you see any animals, plants or insects? What were they doing? 

Now think about the things you saw that were not living, like rocks, cars and shoes. What is the difference between, what do you think makes something living or non-living? 


  1.  What are the characteristics of living organisms?
  2. What does MRS GREN stand for?
  3. What is the difference between dead and non-living?

All living organisms from a bacteria to an elephant have 7 characteristics in common.  You can remember the 7 characteristics by using the acronym, MRS GREN. Watch the video below for an explanation of MRS GREN. 

MRS GREN, stands for Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Control, Growth, Reproduce, Excretion and Nutrition. Select each of the plus icons below to learn more about each characteristic of living things. 

Non-living or dead?

While you may think that something non-living is dead, they are actually 2 different things.

If we say something is dead, we mean that it was once alive. At some point in it’s life it was moving, growing, reproducing etc. While non-living means the thing never had these characteristics. 


  • The 7 characteristic of living things are Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Control, Growth, Reproduce, Excretion and Nutrition. 

  • Something dead was once alive.

  • Something Non-living was never alive.

Test your knowledge

Click the ‘question mark’ to test your knowledge with some questions and activities.


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