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ETD 1: A. What does it REALLY take to be "ALIVE"?
September 30, 2013 at 3:28pm


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Grace Dickerson
October 04, 2016 at 8:18pm

Parent: My daughter explained to me the basic components necessary for an organism to have life.  This was done by using the acronym "C BIG MRS GRENDE".  The organism must have cells, and there must be a balance within the organism of multiple processes.  The organism is interconnected with other things without as well as within.  The organism must have genes and be capable of motion either interior, exterior or both.  The organism must perform respiration.  It must also have senses of some type.  It has to be able to grow by cell division.  It must also be able to reproduce.  To eliminate waste, it must be able to excrete the remains of the nutrition it takes in.  In order to live, it must be able to die, and it has to be able to adapt and evolve as a response to its environment. 


Student: I explained to my parent what the essential components of a living organism are. In order to do this, I used the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE which stands for: Cells, Balance, Interconnected, Genes, Motion, Reproduction, Sense, Genes, Respiration, Excretion, Nutrition, Die, and Evolve. I discussed examples that went along with each term like a scale for Balance, or silia for Motion. Through the acronym and the uise of examples, it is easier for me to explain, understand, and memorize the components of living organisms.

Christal Gutierrez
October 29, 2016 at 8:50pm

Parent: Christal explained to me how one can stay alive or considered to be alive.   She gave me the acronym, C BIG MRS GRENDE, and for which each letter stands for.  Her explanation was very clear, that for us to be alive, our cells and senses should be working and that all should be functioning in our body.  But in the case of some insect like spiders, the male spiders sacrifice themselves for the sake of the female spiders and that is for the latters reproduction.

Student: I teach and explain to my aunt on how to take an organisms to be alive with the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE in which cells are the basic unit of the body, how organisms need homeostasis to balance their body, how we need oxgyen and carbon dioxiode in order to survive, how reproduction also helps to create life for futher generation and how cillia prevents dirt on entering the body and fagella that helps move the cell. This acronym is easy to use to help me explain to my aunt and for me to remember how these are essential for being alive.

Catherine Dennis
October 11, 2017 at 5:53pm


Today Catherine taught me about an acronym she learned, “C~BIG~MRS~GRENDE” which is used to describe the aspects of being a living organism. The “C” stands for cells because all living things are made of one or more cells. “B” is for balance, which an organism needs to survive. “I” is for interconnectedness because all living things must be able to communicate either to other organism or the environment. “G” stands for genes or our genetic code. “M” is for motion meaning a living thing must be able to move. “R” is for reproduction because all living things need a mechanism of reproduction. “S” is for senses in order for the living thing to survive in its habitat. “G” also stands for growth meaning the living thing must develop in some way. “R” is also in reference to respiration which living things must be able to do. “E” is excretion to rid of any waste. “N” is nutrition which provided living things with energy. “D” means the living thing must eventually die. And finally the “E” means evolution or the ability of the living thing to change over time. 

Student: Going over the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE with my mom who is also a science teacher allowed me to facilitate good conversation about real life scenarios that can relate to this acronym used to describe the aspects of being alive. For example, The M stands for motion, which makes me think of things like animals and humans where you can see them moving, but just because you can't see them move doesn't mean they aren't alive. Living things like plants or finger nails move constantly like us, just at a slower rate. So there are lots of things that fall under the being alive category, even if you can't see it with the naked eye.

Brody Magbaleta
October 11, 2017 at 6:58pm

Parent: Today I was lucky enough to be taught a biology lesson by my son. He shared with me the concept of what does it mean to be "alive"? These are all things that are a natural part of our daily lives that are so amazing but we just take for granted. I love the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE for remembering all these important aspects. Without any one of these things life would not survive. 

Student: Tonight, I taught my parents the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE and told them that this is what it meat to be "alive". Teaching this helped me review what each letter meant and a specific example. C (cells, eukaryotic cells have a nucleus), B (balance, teeter totter), I (interconnection, spider web), G (genes, DNA), M (motion, movement of organisms), R (reproduce, mitosis), S (senses, eyeball), G (grow, small to big), R (respiration, fire), E (excretion, pee), N (nutrition, pacman), D (die, RIP), E (evolve, change). 

Jacob Michaels
October 16, 2017 at 6:42pm


I learned about C BIG MRS GRENDE which denotes what it takes to be alive.  Cellls, balance, interconnected, genes, motion, reproduction, senses, growth, respiration, excretion, nutrition, death, evolution.  Very interesting.

Student: I taught my dad about how simple it can be to know whether something is biologically alive or not. If the item you are looking at has EVERY component of C BIG MRS GRENDE then it is alive. For example viruses cannot reproduce independently so they are not considered alive.

Joey Ribera
December 31, 2017 at 4:48pm

Parent: I learned the saying C BIG MRSGRENDE and how these are the elements to be alive. They are cells, balance, interconnected, genes, motion, reproduce, sense, grow, respiration, excretion, nutrition, die, and evolve. 

Student: Reviewing this acronym helped me refresh on what it takes to be alive. Teaching my parents not only the saying, but connections that went along with made the information stick. For example, if you smell a flower you are using one of the five senses or in you run you are fulfilling the motion component of what it takes to be alive. 

Kaelynn Leick
January 21, 2018 at 5:34pm

Parent: My mother believes food, air, and water are needed to be alive. A living breathing thing requires a beating heart. I got a very angry no when I asked if she had anything else to say. She knew her answer was fairly basic but couldn't come up with anything else.

Student: I explained to my mother the C BIG MRS GRENDE acronym. I told her was it all stood for: cells, balance, interconnected, genes, motion, reproduce, sense, grow, respiration, excretion, nutrition, die and evolve. I explained to my mother all the different things that can be considered as alive, tiny microorganisms, plants, animals, and humans. All of these things are interconnected and they help aid the process of life and allow "living" things to function. 

Hitesh Boinpally
January 21, 2018 at 8:57pm

Parent: I learned today from my son that there 13 elements required to be alive. It's good way to have an acronym to remember them easily: C BIG MRS GRENDE. Hitesh also explained what each part of the acronym actually stands for. 

Student: From teaching my parents about what it takes to be alive I was able to review what each letter in the acronym C BIG MRS GRENDE meant. Furthermore, by using newer information from the other units I better understood what the actual terms meant, such as understanding reproduction better thanks to Meiosis. Also, how growth happens through Mitosis, respiration through the ETC and other parts of Cellular Respiration, and the importance of genes and inheritance.

Supreet Sandhu
January 22, 2018 at 3:07pm


I am explained the different aspects of C BIG MRS GRENDE and how it is applied to the real world. I then used the acronym to explain examples such as cells could be white blood cells or red blood. I first asked my dad about what he thought what it took to be alive meant and then debunked his theories of having multiple cells by showing single cell creatures being alive.


So from my understanding the C is for Cells, then B is for balance, I is for interconnection, G is genes, M is for motion, r is reproductive, s is for sense, g is grow, r is respiration, E is for execution, n is nutrition, d is died, and evolve is for E. These characteristic define rather or not the organism or creature is alive.

Bre Glover
January 23, 2018 at 4:29pm


I learned C BIG MRS Grende, which stands for cells, balance, interconnections, genes, motion, reproduction, senses, grow, respiration, excretion, nutrition, death and evolve. This really narrowed down my thinking of what it takes to be alive. Instead of being just simply breathing, eating, drinking, etc, it comes down to a lot of commonalities that living organisms share.




I taught my parent about C BIG MRS GRENDE, and how it is vital for something to live. Every single one of these points: cells, balance, interconnections, genes, motion, reproduction, sense, grow, respiration, excretion, nutrition, death and evolve, need to be in place in order for something to be seen as living. This really helped me reiterate the meaning of the acronym, as I have been a bit rusty on it. As we have gone more in-depth about biology, it is easy to forget the basics--but without the basics, we don’t have life!!!

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