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Common Features of All Forms of Life
Next Generation: MS.LS1.1 NGSS

Common Features of All Forms of Life

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson presents the features that are common among all forms of living things.

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Made up of cells

Living things are composed of cells.  Cells are tiny structures that are the basic building blocks of all life. 


Cellular Order

Living things are able to organize simple things into complex things.

Example: Humans are able to organize groups of cells into organs like the heart or liver.


The Chemicals of Life

Living things are made up of similar molecules.

Example: water, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids


Energy Use

Living things use energy in order to grow, develop, and repair themselves.

Example: Your brain cells are using energy right now in order to read this.


Response to Surroundings

Living things react to changes in their environment.

Example: A person is startled by a car horn


Growth and Development

Living things use energy in order to grow and become more complex over time by using RNA to manufacture new proteins.

Example: A person uses the energy from eating a pizza in order to produce more cells in their body.



Living things produce offspring similar to the parents by dividing and distributing DNA.

Example: Two monkeys at the zoo reproduced in order to create a baby monkey that has similar DNA.

Common Features of All Forms of Life