Lesson video

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Hi, everybody.

My name is Miss Simkin.

What's your name? I probably haven't taught you before.

So I'm going to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me.

Before I became a science teacher, I was actually a type of scientist called a marine biologist.

And that's because when I was your age, I really wanted to be a mermaid because I loved everything that lived in the sea.

But sadly, I never could grow my mermaid tail or learn how to breathe under water by myself.

So I had to learn to do the next best thing.

And that's something called scuba diving.

What's it called? Scuba diving.

Scuba diving is where you get a tank of air on your back and you breathe through something called a regulator, and it sounds like this.

Can you try it for me? Exactly.

And then, because I could scuba dive, it means that I could become a marine biologist, and that's a type of scientist that studies living things that live in the sea.

So I am really excited to teach you this unit of lessons, because for the next six lessons, we are going to learn all about living things and the habitats that they live in.

Our lesson question today is what are the characteristics of living things? So we are going to learn how to spot if something is living.

This is what we're going to do in today's lesson.

We're going to start with our star words.

Then we're going to learn all about Mrs. Nerg.

Then we're going to decide if some things that I show you are living or non-living, and then at the end, we're going to do a sorting activity.

And then right at the end of the lesson, you will have your end of lesson quiz, where you will have a chance to check how much you have remembered from this lesson.

Today, you're going to need a piece of paper, a pencil, and a coloured pencil.

So if you don't have those things, you can pause the video and go and get them now, please.

We're also going to need our brains today, okay? Can you give your brain a gentle rub and a gentle knock, just to get it woken up? Brilliant.

Now I want you to give it a shake.

Shake your whole body and get the blood rushing to your brain.

And then can you take some deep breaths for me? Brilliant.

That's to get the oxygen that our brain needs.

Oh, I feel much better and ready to begin now.

What about you? Great.

Let's start with our star words.

We've got some quite tricky star words today, but I think you're ready for them.

We're going to practise saying them a couple of times until they don't seem that tricky anymore.


When I point at me, I'm going to say the word.

And when I point at the screen, you're going to say the word out loud.



Good job.


One more time.








Good job.








Well done.

I can tell I've got some really good scientists sitting in front of me.

Those were tricky words, but you tried really hard.

Now we are going to learn what all of those words mean in our lesson.

It's time now for me to introduce you to Mrs. Nerg.

Say hello, Mrs. Nerg.

Now, Mrs. Nerg is what we call an acronym.

That means she is a special way of helping us to remember something where each of her letters links to something.

So when we write Mrs. Nerg like this.

So you can see Mrs. Nerg.

Each of these, each of the letters of Mrs. Nerg stands for something.

So for example, the M for Mrs. Nerg stands for movement, but we'll talk about that in a second.

Can you, please, write Mrs. Nerg down like this so you can see it here? Down like this on your page and leave yourself one or maybe even two lines between each letter.

So Mrs. Nerg.

Pause the video and set your page up like mine, please.


We're going to learn what each letter in Mrs. Nerg means.

And Mrs. Nerg is a way of finding out if something is living or non-living because living things do all of the things that Mrs. Nerg reminds us of.

So you'll see in a moment.

The M for Mrs. Nerg stands for movement.

What does it stand for? Movement.

All living things move.

Animals move around to get from place to place, and plants can move as well.

They grow and they turn very slowly, but they can do it.

They turn towards the light when they're growing.

So the M in Mrs. Nerg stands for movement.

Now each time we learn about a letter in Mrs. Nerg I would like you, please, to write down that word and then draw a picture to help you remember what that word means.

So let me show you an example.

Next to my M, I've written the word movement, and then I drew on a picture to help me remember.

You don't have to draw the same picture as me.

You could draw a different picture.

Maybe you could draw somebody running to show movement.

It's up to you.

Whatever helps you remember it and helps it to stick in your head.

Can you pause the video and write movement and draw your picture? Pause the video now.


Our next letter, follow on your finger.

We've done M, what's coming next? The next letter is R, and R stands for respiration.

All animals respire.

During respiration, glucose, which is a type of sugar, reacts with oxygen from the air to release energy, and energy is what allows living things to do things, to grow and to move and to do all the other life processes.

We need energy from respiration in order to do those things.

So my picture to help me remember what respiration is reminds me of energy.

What's your picture going to be to help it stick in your head? So R is for respirations.

So you can pause the video and write respiration, and then draw your picture.

Pause the video and do that for me now, please.

Great, good job.

What's our next letter? Can you point to it on the screen? Our next letter is S.

S stands for sensitivity.

What does S stand for? Sensitivity.

Good job.

All living things are sensitive.

That means they can detect changes in their surroundings.

So humans and other animals have their five senses that help us to detect our changes in surroundings.

So we see with our eyes, we hear with our ears.

Those are two of our five senses and they help us to detect what's going on in our surroundings.

Plants are sensitive, too.

They might not be able to see 'cause they don't have eyes, but they can still sense changes in temperature or light and know what's going on in their surroundings.

So S stands for sensitivity.

Can you write sensitivity and draw your picture? Pause the video to do that now.


What letter's coming next? Check with your finger.

N, we've got the N in Nerg.

And that N stands for nutrition.

What does it stand for? Great.

All living things need nutrition.

So food is eaten to provide energy by animals, but green plants can make their own food using sunlight.

Can you write nutrition and draw your picture? Pause the video to do that now, please.

Good job.

What letter's coming next? E.

E, ooh, is a bit of a funny one.

E is excretion.

What is E? Excretion.

All living things excrete.

That means that they get rid of waste products from their body.

So humans breathe out some of their waste products.

But we also get rid of waste when we go to the toilet.

Plants don't go to the toilet, but they get rid of all their waste through those little holes at the bottom of their leaves.

What letter's? Can you, I was about to go to the next letter without giving you a chance to draw your picture.

Can you, please, write the word excretion and draw your picture? Pause the video to do that for me now, please.


Now can you tell me what's our next letter? R.

The letter R stands for reproduce.

And that means have babies.

So all living things reproduce.

Animals have young babies, and plants produce seeds, which more plants grow from.

Can you, please, pause the video and write reproduce and draw your picture? Pause the video and do that for me now, please.

Great, what's our next letter? Our last letter is G.

G stands for grow.

What does G stand for? Grow or growth I've written there.

All living things grow.

Animals grow from babies to adults, and seeds grow into plants.

Can you please write growth and draw your picture.

Pause the video and do that for me now.


So now we've written everything that Mrs. Nerg stands for.

Movement, respiration, sensitivity, nutrition, excretion, reproduction, and growth.

Now, if something does all of those things, then we know that it's a living thing.

So now that we've learned that, let's see if we can tell whether each of these things is a living or a non-living thing.

So if it does all of the things in Mrs. Nerg, it's living.

If it doesn't, then it's non-living.

So here's an example.

You can see there's a sentence stem at the bottom to help us.

So I'm going to do this one for you.

I can see on the picture there's a swan.

So I'm going to say a swan is a hmm, is a swan a living or not, it's a living thing? So I'm going to say a swan is a living thing because, hmm, I'm going to choose one of my Mrs. Nerg processes to explain my answer.

Which one should I choose? Well, I can see from the picture that this one has got some babies with it.

We call baby swans cygnets.

Now, because I can see it's got babies, I know that this one must reproduce.

It must produce offspring.

And so I can say a swan is a living thing because it reproduces.

I'm going to say it one more time and then it's your turn.

A swan is a living thing because it reproduces.

Good job.

Could I have said something instead of reproduces? Yeah, I could have said anything in Mrs. Nerg.

I could have said a swan is a living thing because it moves, or a swan is a living thing because it respires.


Let's have a go at this one.

What is this? Tell your screen.

It's a clock, exactly.

So is a clock a living or a non-living thing? Let's think.


Does a clock reproduce? Does it have babies? No, it doesn't.

Does it move? Oh, yes, it does.

That's confusing, isn't it? 'Cause movement is in Mrs. Nerg but remember it can't just do one of the things in Mrs. Nerg, it needs to do all of them.

And we already said that clocks can't reproduce.

They can't have babies.


So let's use the sentence stem to say a sentence about this clock.

A clock is a non-living thing because it can't reproduce.

Your turn.

Great, good job.

Okay, are you ready for the next one? It's a tree.

Is a tree a living or a non-living thing? You're right.

It's a living thing.

How do you know that? That's right.

You could have said anything in Mrs. Nerg.

Because it moves, because it respires, because it needs nutrition.

Well done.

So can you have a go at fitting in the sentence stem below, a hmm is a hmm thing because hmm.

Say it to your screen.


A tree is a not, ah, I nearly made a mistake.

What mistake did I make? Is a living thing.

I said it was a non-living thing.

Oh well, let me try again.

A tree is a living thing because it can respire.

Let's have a look at the next object.

What is this? It's a robot.

Is a robot a living or a non-living thing? Hmm, this one's a bit confusing because a robot can move.

It could also sometimes be sensitive.

It can sense things.

Some robots can see where the wall is and stop moving before they get there.

But can robots reproduce? Can they have babies? No, they can't.

What about grow, can robots grow? No, they can't.

So it's a non-living thing.

It's not living.

Okay, let's have a go at filling in this sentence stem.

A robot is a non-living thing because, because it can't grow.

Well done.

I'm going to say it and then you're going to say it.

A robot is a non-living thing because it can't grow.

Your turn.

Good job.

You are becoming experts on telling if something is living or non-living.

So now we're going to do a sorting activity where I'm going to show you some pictures and you're going to decide if they're living or non-living.

So here are your six pictures.

You've got a daisy, a toothbrush, a horse, a piece of bread, a TV, and a bird, or a robin if you want to be specific.

And I'd like you, please, to put them into two columns, living and non-living.

And you can see I've done an example for you on the screen.

Remember when you're deciding, you can think about Mrs. Nerg, and you've got it written down in front of you.

So think does it do all of the things in Mrs. Nerg? If the answer is yes, then you can put it in living.

If the answer is no, then you can put it in non-living.

Pause the video and have a go at this for me now, please.

Great, let's check your answers.

So a daisy is living, so is a horse, and so is a bird.

But a toothbrush, bread and a TV are non-living.

Well done if you've got those correct.

If you made a mistake, that's okay.

Every time you make a mistake, our brain gets stronger.

You can give yourself a tick in your different coloured pencil if you've got it correct.

And if you made a mistake, that's okay.

You can just correct it in your different colour now.

Pause your video to mark your work.


You did such a fantastic job today! Well done.

Now that we've learned what a living and non-living thing is, next lesson, we can learn all about habitats.

If you would like to share your work with Oak National, then you can ask your parent or your carer to share your work and tag OakNational and hashtag LearnwithOak, and they can also tag @Teach_STEMinism.

And then I will be able to see your work too.

Don't forget to do your end of lesson quiz just before you go.

And most importantly, don't forget to have a fantastic rest of your day.

It was so great to see you for the science lesson.

And hopefully, I will see you back here soon for another one.

Bye, everybody.