Challenge 1: Is a virus alive?
- I can use the criteria for living things to classify an entity as “alive.”
- I can use scientific evidence to argue whether a virus is alive or not.
The story continues...
Unable to meet in person these days, June, Tash, and Ray communicate daily over text. In their group text one evening, they start a debate.
Ray: Yo, it says we need to steer clear of live virus.
Tash: Wait, viruses are tiny little particles, they aren’t alive!
Ray: Of course they are alive, they can infect people tho.
June: I remember the teacher of my freshmen biology class saying that there are certain criteria in order to classify something as alive, but I don’t remember exactly what those were.
Ray: No, I’m telling you viruses are ALIVE.
Tash: *skeptical face emoji*
Make a Claim:
Do you side with Ray or Tash and June?
Discuss & Reflect
- What processes do cells (of either single-celled or multicellular organisms) complete when they are alive?
- What evidence exists to support that viruses are alive?
- What evidence exists to support that viruses are not alive (HINT: what do they lack that living cells have?)
Research & Debate
As a group: Either divide students into two groups, one supporting the idea that viruses are alive and the other that they are not. Have the students conduct a debate providing evidence to support each side of the argument. Each group should find at least three credible sources with supporting evidence.
Individual: Choose one of the statements below and write an argument to support your choice providing scientific evidence:
- Viruses are alive.
- Viruses are not alive.
Find at least three credible sources with supporting evidence.