What is life? We usually know it when we see it, but what is it? This course introduces students to the big picture of life on Earth. Students discover that all living things, despite their complexity, share the same basic characteristics. Students learn that all organisms (archaea, bacteria, single-celled microbes, multicellular fungi, plants, and animals) are composed of cells, and that a single cell is the fundamental unit of life. Students explore the relationship of organisms to their environment, and recognize life as a temporary condition experienced for various lengths of time by all living things. It is our hope that, in their efforts to answer the question "what is life?" students will develop an appreciation for the awesome diversity of life on Earth and a personal interest in life in all its forms.