I discovered the “glue monster” or “scooting glue” demo from Flinn Scientific (click on “Glue Monsters” to download the pdf file). Kitchen chemistry also provides a write up for the same activity with a better description of the chemistry behind the demo. For a quicktime movie of a paper boat “fleeing” from a dish soap coated toothpick, see the University of Iowa Physics and Astronomy Lecture Demonstrations.
To learn more about the characteristics of life, see the following sites:
1. All living organisms are composed of cells, from just one to many trillions, whose details usually are visible only through a microscope.
Structure and Function in Living Systems
5. The anatomy and physiology of plants and animals illustrate the complementary nature of structure and function. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know plants and animals have levels of organization for structure and function, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the whole organism.