In this activity, learners discuss how life is defined and conduct a simple experiment, looking for signs of life in three different “soil” samples. The experiment introduces learners to the difficulty that scientists face in defining life. By observing the soil samples, learners try to determine if any contain signs of life and work to identify, refine, and create a set of characteristics that may be used to identify living versus nonliving things. The activity concludes with the development of a group definition of life.


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