Beacon Lesson Plan Library

C.M. Beg

Jennifer Slichter
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is an interesting lesson about the concept of living things. Students will be introduced to a pretend boy named C.M. Beg. The initials of the boy will be a mnemonic device to help students understand the basic characteristics of living things. C stands for change. M stands for move. Be stands for breath. E stands for eat. G stands for grow.


The student knows how to apply knowledge about life processes to distinguish between living and nonliving things.


-Picture of an apple tree
-Apple seed
-Toy race car
-Chalkboard and chalk or white board and marker


1. Draw a little boy on the board.
2. Find a picture of an apple tree.
3. Get an apple seed.
4. Find a toy race car.
5. Bring an apple to school.
6. Bring a doll to school
7. Obtain enough paper, glue, magazines, and scissors for each student to have.


1. Tell the students that today we are going to talk about living and nonliving things. Point to the picture of a little boy on the chalkboard. Write C. M. Beg underneath the picture. Tell the class that C.M. Beg is the boy's name. He has a special name because each letter in his name will help us learn more about living things.

2. Point to the letter C. C stands for change. Living things change. We are alive. Discuss with the class ways that we change over time. Generate responses such as we get older and bigger, etc.

3. Ask the class to raise their hands if they have pets. Ask different students to discuss ways that their pets have changed over time.

4. Ask the class to raise their hands if mother has a flower garden. Discuss ways the flower garden may change over time.

5. Point to the letter M. M stands for move. Ask students to raise their hands if they can think of ways that we move. Get responses. Ask students to raise their hands if they can think of ways that animals move. Get responses. Ask students to guess what part of a plant would move. Discuss how the roots move deeper in the ground as the plant gets bigger. Discuss how the plant grows taller.

6. Point to the letter B. B stands for breath. Living things breathe. Plants donít breathe the way we do. They produce oxygen for people. They take in carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen.

7. Point to the letter E. E stands for eat. Living things need nutrients to survive. We get our nutrients from food and water. Plants get energy from the sunlight and water in the soil. Ask students to think of some foods they like that give them energy. Get responses. Quickly review healthy versus unhealthy food.

8. Point to the letter G. G stands for grow. Living things will grow. We all start out as babies and get older. Ask students to think about frogs. Ask students if they know what tadpoles are. Quickly review how frogs change from tadpoles to frogs. Hold up an apple seed. Discuss how we plant the seed into the ground then it will sprout. It will begin very small and over time grow very large and produce apples.

9. Hold up a big red apple. Ask students if the apple is living or nonliving. Let class vote. Use tally marks under living and nonliving. Keep count. Give students the chance to explain why they voted the way they did. Verify that the apple was once living when it was one the tree but now that it has been picked it is no longer living. It will not grow any larger. It is not able to get any more nutrients from the soil so it canít eat.

10. Hold up a picture of a doll. Ask if the doll is living. Ask the following questions and get responses. Does she change? Does she move? Does she breathe? Does she eat? Does she grow?

11. Explain to students that sometimes things can have one or more attributes but they must have all five to be living.

12. Hold up a race car. Ask if the race car is living or nonliving. Push the car along the floor. Ask students to think of an attribute of living things the race car has. Guide students to understand that the race car can move if pushed on its own. Ask the class ways they think the race car can change over time. Ask students what would happen to the race car if I left it outside over time and it kept getting rained upon. Generate response that the car would rust. Therefore the race car can also change. Although it has two attributes of living things it must have all five characteristics to be alive.

13. Hold up the picture of an apple tree. Ask students to raise their hands if they can remember the five reasons the apple tree is living. (change, move, breathe, eat, grow). Discuss responses.

14. Give each child a magazine, scissors, piece of paper and glue. Have each student cut out as many living as they can find and glue the pictures on their paper. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Tell the students that they must come to the front of the room and do an oral presentation. They must explain how what they cut out changes, moves, (ex. plant root moves and response to environment), breathes, eats and grows.

15. Invite each student to come to the front. Students take turns sharing sharing their projects and explaining how they determined what they cut out was a living thing by stating how the object changes, moves, breathes, eats and grows. Note students who are unable to state why they chose the picture as a living thing.


The assessment will be each student's final project. Using their knowledge of the characteristics of living things, students should be able to explain orally why objects are living using the five criteria in C.M. Beg's name. Note students who have difficulty and offer feedback and an additional time to show you that they know the difference between living and non-living things.


Allow students to go outside and each choose an object to talk about. Students must decide if the object is living or nonliving in terms of the five characteristics discussed in class.
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