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Teaching Cell Parts in a "fun way"?
Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:07 AM
I've taught about the different parts of a cell (the organelles) before and am wondering if there is a more interactive or fun way to do this. We don't have access to microscopes as our school doesn't have the money. Does anyone have any review games or ideas so that not all of my lessons are purely factual or 'boring?'
How do you approach this?
4055 Activity Points
Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:05 AM
What grade level do you teach? If you search the discussion boards (just look for the search box above the discussion area), you'll find a great thread on "Cell Structure and Function."
You can also search NSTA's resources by using the search box at the very top of your page (just to the right of "NSTA Learning Center" - this allows you to narrow your search results by your grade level. There are tons of resources I've used to teach this topic and they're all fantastic!
Hope that helps!
16980 Activity Points
Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:34 PM
Yes I remember seeing that thread and actually participating in it. In the past I've tried card games as a review, or having them make stories about cells. I teach 9th graders right now.
Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:38 PM
You could always show some videos, there are great clips and interactives that you can project from your computer from NSTA and other science sites. I bought a "zoomy" for my class, it was less than 50 bucks on amazon and it's a cool digital microscope that lets the kids see whatever they want to put on a slide, projected from the computer. If you don't have one computer to project onto a screen though, this would not work. One year I used all of my Scholastic points to buy a cheap microscope that we used in stations, so all students could view slides we had prepared for science fair projects. It was not as good as having many microscopes, but got the concept across. Good luck!
2495 Activity Points
Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:14 PM
I agree with Paula that the NSTA provides numerous resources that you can share with your students via a computer and a projector. Two other great resources that you might be interested in are Discovery Education and Promethean Planet. On Discovery Education, I was able to find virtual science labs to develop the students’ inquiry skills, as well as an interactive model of the plant and animal cell. On Promethean Planet, teachers share various resources, which include their review games that help to review the parts of the cell. Or if you do not have access, maybe you could make your own Jeopardy-esque review game by using Microsoft Powerpoint.
Even though I teach 4th grade, the high school in our complex area was generous enough to donate some of their models of plant and animal cells. The high school students had constructed the three-dimensional models of materials they had at home. I covered the labels for each of the cell parts and had my students guess what each was organelle was. Maybe you could do a similar project with your students and have your class periods review each other’s models.
620 Activity Points
Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:18 PM
I have one for you. Your criteria was fun. We recently completed the cell parts lessons, and for a culminating activity we had the students create cells out of jello and candies. It was a blast. You make jello molds (I used a muffin tin) and each pair of students gets two jello molds. Students are then instructed to place the candy in the jello to represent the different cell parts. You can have the students bring in contributions, supply the candy, or likely a little of both. Some of the best conversations were overheard on how "no that's not a jelly bean, that's a mitochodria", or "can you pass me some more of the cell wall". Parts are carfully placed in the jello by gently scooping out small amounts of the jello. Bubble gum tape or sour strips are perfect for the cell wall and/or membrane and actually help keep the cell together. When the students are finished, they place one jello on top of the other to give a much more 3D effect. I really found this an effective way to deeply set vocabulary and the students talk about it for years after. The next time you are in the candy isle of your local store, look at the available options with a different set of eyes. You will be amazed on the array of candies that will lend themselves to becoming "edible" cell parts. Oh, did I mention that after the students create their models and legends and pictures are taken that the students get to eat their creations!
2690 Activity Points
Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:55 PM
I teach 7th grade and the Cell Structure and Function unit until recently was not one of my favorites due to the complexity of the material and as you mentioned the difficulty in finding creative, fun and innovative ways to teach a somewhat "boring" section (because much is virtual to students, limiting them in visualizing and actually relating to this part of the year-they had a hard time connecting to the structure portion of th lesson). To date, I now am having fun with this unit of people graciously sharing their creativeness with me. The following are a few ideas: 1) 3/4-D Cell-students create a 3/4-dimension structure of a cell; requirements are that they have all organelles present in either their plant or animal cell with a brief description of the organelle's function - this was a neat project as many of my students were super creative in their models using any where from clay to jello and candies, styrofoam balls and foam sheets, students self assessed as well as peer assessed according to a given rubric, 2) Cell Analogy Project -students create a power point presentation with the requirement of having one slide per organelle; describe the function and structure of the cell and find an analogy to go along with the cell part - example, the golgi apparatus is like a post office where is packages and ships materials; and most recently, I have a UHH student observing my class this year (pre-cohort) who shared with me the idea that was in turn shared with him called the 3) Cell Game-student groups are given a set amount of play money; each group auctions for parts of a cell; objective is to collect cells parts of either a plant or animal cell, having the right parts to build a complete plant or animal cell a the end. In the process, groups are allowed to charge other groups money to buy their parts if they are willing to barter and sell. For the last idea, it sounded super fun to me and I know the students would get a kick out of it (teaches math/business/communication/GLO's as well as science) HOWEVER, I can also see this activity as one that requires much classroom management as it could get loud. I want to try that lesson out next year but really need to think about the logistics of the "game" myself. Ditto to what everyone else shared as far as more resources on the NSTA website as well....good luck!
4085 Activity Points
Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:36 PM
My apologies in advance for not realizing that this discussion existed. However I did post information in a section further down titled, cells structure and function. I am not sure how fun my double bubble was but it did give my students the chance to find the similarities and differences on their own. I think they were very successful with the double bubble. If you have a chance, try it out and see how your students do. They also had fun drawing, coloring and labeling a simple animal and plant cell. Let me know how it goes!
3190 Activity Points
Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:06 PM
Wow - thanks everyone for the neat ideas! Nancy and Rochelle - I love the hands on interactive cell ideas, especially when you can use food as the medium. I would definitely like to try this one day with my Kindergartners. hopefully we can just do the basic cell, nucleus, and cell membrane. Usually we just draw simple pictures in Kindergartena and label them. but I really think they would get a kick out of the food activity. Thanks again for sharing!
1195 Activity Points
Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:46 AM
Nancy, I loved your idea of the jello cell models with different types of candies. I will have to bookmark this idea to possibly try someday. I am not sure if it would work with my third graders or not but I am sure it created some lasting memories with your older students! I love how they were using the vocabulary words.
2300 Activity Points
Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:48 AM
Hi All! I'm glad I found this discussion thread on teaching cells and their organelles to lower grade (and upper grade) students. I was really intrigued by the idea that Nancy shared on teaching cell organelles through the use of jello and candy. That is such a creative way of having the students interact with the science content. I'm definitely going to try this lesson with my students as we're reviewing this particular benchmark and getting ready for our second round of state assessment testing (in my particular state we have to do the state assessments in science). Thanks for the great ideas, everyone!
4985 Activity Points
Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:42 PM
I relate the cell organelles to the operations of the school, e.g. the nucleus is like the principal's office, the cell wall is like the school's fence. Students work in pairs to write out each organelle and it's function on individual post it notes and then tour the school with you posting their post it note to the matching school function as they walk by. Students end the period with a reflection of what they learned in their interactive notebook.
1330 Activity Points
Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:57 PM
I also do the edible cell activity with my 10th grade Biology classes and they enjoy figuring out what pieces of candy will represent certain organelles and then eating the "cell" afterwards. I also make them list the functions of each organelle so they know what part each plays to make a cell function properly. We take pictures before they eat them and choose who had the prettiest "cells". The students really enjoy this activity but it's a little expensive unless you can get the students to bring in their "organelles" but sometimes when you rely on the students to bring in things you will end up with NOTHING so you have to be careful.
3305 Activity Points
Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:22 AM
These are some really good ideas. I also have my students relate the organelle's function to a system such as school, factory, city, etc. They seem to understand the functions better.
2625 Activity Points
Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:38 AM
I also did do the jello lab which the kids loved. I prepared the jello a day in advance just to save time. The students had to decide what type of candy would represent that part. An example is for the nucleus students choose a marshmallow or a big gum ball. I wish I had my worksheet I used so I could upload it but I really don't know where I saved.
2635 Activity Points
Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:42 AM
I also did do the jello lab which the kids loved. I prepared the jello a day in advance just to save time. The students had to decide what type of candy would represent that part. An example is for the nucleus students choose a marshmallow or a big gum ball. I wish I had my worksheet I used so I could upload it but I really don't know where I saved. Also, having a 3-D model of an animal and planet cell helps students visualize it.
Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:30 PM
One fun thing that students look forward to at my schoool is cell cookies. Towards the end of the cell unit the teachers order large cookies from the cafeteria. The students, working in pairs, decorate the cookies with icing and candies of various shapes which represent different organelles. Here is a link to a lesson plan.
25145 Activity Points
Fri May 04, 2012 5:01 AM
Thank you for sharing your ideas and insights about creating an edible cell with students. I also did a similar lesson and found it on a great website called: www.teachingchannel.org The Teaching Channel website has a multitude of websites of amazing teachers and their best practices. For this edible cell, students used a graham cracker as their "base" and used the rest of the materials to construct their cell on top of the graham cracker. Prior to the lesson, students struggled with the meaning of the science vocabulary. However, by using frosting to represent cytoplasm, students now see how it is an organelle that hold everything together, just like how their frosting kept all of their organelles intact. Thank you again for the excellent ideas and resources!
Fri May 04, 2012 5:02 AM
Fri May 04, 2012 2:00 PM
Hi Loren and thread participants,
Such excellent activities have been shared already in this thread! Our 6th graders make Cell "ABC" books. Modeled after children's ABC books, students use a cell part or funciton that starts with a letter of the alphabet to describe and/or explain. It is a "fun" format for students to use in order to display their knowledge of cells.
Also, there are some interactive websites that I have used as review games, etc., Loren. I don't think this one has been mentioned yet (forgive me if it has):
Finally, if you have gone through any of the SciPacks on cellular concepts, you may already be familiar with SciGuides. There are 3 that are geared toward middle and high school teacher[url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/5/SG-38]s.
Cell Division and Differentiation[/url]
Cells and Chemical Reactions
Reproduction and Heredity
Each SciGuide contains lots of lesson plans and interactive activities to help teachers plan and execute effective inquiry lessons on related topics from the SciPacks.
79298 Activity Points
Fri May 04, 2012 10:25 PM
I've used Cells Alive- an excellent on-line resource and have also done edible and 3-d models. I came up with a "low-tech" idea to teach it in a "fun" way. Sort of a take off of match game: I simply took manilla folders and cut them into strips (very durable and lasts for years). Put one cell structure on each strip- you can add or subtract structures according to grade levels. (I teach 7th grade- and use about 14 structures). I write these in black. I do another set of strips for the functions- one per strip. These are in red. I made about 8 sets per class. In groups-the kids lay the structure cards out vertically (I also had them stacked alphabetically) on the lab tables- then match the functions next to each. I did this the first couple minutes of class each day/every other day while we did the unit. The kids enjoyed "competing" with each other to see which group could finish the best and the quickest with no errors. Last day- I used it as a quiz grade. (I still have the original sets that I made 7 years ago).
30 Activity Points
Mon May 07, 2012 10:18 AM
NSTA has far too many resources to list in one place, but I wanted to share my own collection of resources I've used over the years. Cell parts is absolutely my favorite unit!
Wed May 09, 2012 12:59 AM
I really enjoyed the ideas shared about the "edible" cell projects. Working in a fifth grade class we did an activity with the students that was similar but instead we used plastic zip-lock bags and green or clear hair gel or aloe. You can pick up large bottles from the dollar store. The students can bring in various items that resemble the cell parts and when they are placed into the bag with the gel the "cell parts" will be suspended in the gel resembling the cell. While they weren't able to eat it, the kids had a lot of fun with the project and it really helped them remember the parts and their functions!
1165 Activity Points
Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:23 PM
I have tried the 3D model project and it worked great even for
seventh graders. They had so
much and came up with some really great ideas from using watermelons to making huge cookies even cakes. They had to have each organelle labelled and had to explain briefly their function. With my older classes I added a little twist of relating structure and function. I also feel that is important for some students to understand how it's all connected, which helps them remember the parts and their function. I break up a metabolic reaction into simple steps and concepts they can understand and relate it to something they'd be familiar with.
30 Activity Points
Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:13 PM
I have decided this year that we will be doing a Play-Doh cell instead of a Jello cell to see if the students can remember the organelles better by having to mold them rather than just put them into the Jello. I also found a really nice diagram with questions that we just reviewed that I think will help the students see the shape of the organelles and where they belong within the cell.
Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:06 AM
I like your Play-Doh idea...I also teach science along the biology class and I have used Play-Doh models to teach parts of atom.
Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:08 AM
Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:09 PM
I just did a couple lesson with my students. I broke it down over 3 days. They got to look at and handle models of cells and various books and online resources prior to the culminating activity of making edible cells. I have included a link below to a video of an elementary school teacher's cell lesson. I thought there were some really great ideas and my students were really thrilled with the activities. I also added in looking at real cells under a microscope and sketching them and a few other partner activities but the culminating activity was fun. I suppose you could modify it based on the level of your students.
4675 Activity Points
Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:06 PM
Here is what we did today for Cell structure and function. I think it was more successful than doing this with Jello. They had to construct the ten organelles I wrote on the board and write down their functions as well. They did an awesome job! I hope it helps them on the exam next week. I walked around and asked questions while they were making their cells.
play_doh_cells.JPG (2.05 Mb)
Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:20 PM
My daughter had to do a similar assignment last year as a junior. She was given the assignment to make a model of a cell nucleus. We decided to use fruit. The cell was a cantaloupe, sweet potato, grape tomatoes, grapes, strawberries. She connected and placed everything with toothpicks. Of course she told us very last minute to we were in the grocery store at midnight relying on her to decide what would work for each part. But when she took it to school it was pretty good. Most of the other students used cake. I was surprised that she was able to use the details of each part like shape, size and texture to determine what she would use to make that part. This activity was fun and hopefully she will remember the parts of a cell because of that assignment.
3465 Activity Points
Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:31 PM
I LOVED ALL OF THE IDEAS shared! I am currently in our Cells Unit and although I shared the activities that I do (3/4D cell, cell analogy etc..) I really thought it was a superb idea to use gel in a plastic bag as well as play doh in place of the edible cell. I used the edible cell for years and until recently when the DOE changed the ruling on nutrition in schools, making sugar products a contraband item, I had to get rid of the candy cell project. I will definitely use the gel idea or the play doh one as students can actually keep those items at home for more than just the day ;0). I also appreciated all of the ideas that others shared. Another that really got my interest was the use of manila folders to help reinforce structure matched with function as a quick "mini-quiz"/challenge type exercise. Easy to do DAILY that will help students remember the cells part ans functions. I appreciate all of the ideas and will continue to follow this thread! Thank you all again!
Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:46 PM
These are great ideas for the classroom. Reading the posts have really excited me to start the unit on cells. Though I"m a bit behind in the Science curriculum, the candy cells and plastic bag cells are great ideas in creating a 3D/4D model for the students. I've used posters before, but I see more of an advantage with having the students come up with items that resemble parts of the cells. I think this way, it is ingrained with the students. I like the idea of the manila folders as it is a great way for assessments.
AWESOME IDEAS. Thanks.
1055 Activity Points
Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:28 PM
I haven't done a cell model since my first year as a teacher. I feel better prepared in introducing this activity back because it's a great way to engage the kinesthetic learners in an abstract unit. I do like Nancy's idea of using the candy 3D model, since it is something that the kids could easily do after Halloween! I have had students make a key where they describe the different parts of the cell. I'm wondering if breaking students into small groups would work or if each student should make their own...
I also have created a fun way to review the cell parts by making a PowerPoint presentation using riddles students have derived and I have along the years. I pose a riddle with pictures and have students write their answers on a small, white board. It's engaging and it let's me know where each student is at.
Last year, I had students make a PowerPoint presentation on the cell parts. I will not have time to do this activity and the model. However, I think as a teacher who teaches the same contnent year after year, it is important to mix up the instruction. I learn from my students by stealing their ideas.
1470 Activity Points
Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:58 AM
My two favorite ways to teach the cell parts are either with a playdoh model or using cardstock for the shape of the cell and adding play-foam for the individual parts. The cardstock model looks great on a classroom board and the process of cutting out the various cell parts helps with the function. Of course, playdoh is always fun. For my students the edible models got a bit crazy!
630 Activity Points
Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:01 AM
Oh, one more thing. I send home the first week of school a playdoh recipe. My students each make several colors and bring them in to class in a Ziploc bag. This lasts the entire year and is used for so many projects, from topographic maps to cellular reproduction!
Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:45 AM
I found that comparing the organelles to city structures which had functions worked well. They had to match cell parts to structures found in a city. Then they had to create a cell city of their own. Many were able to get the test well after this activity.
The paragraph and the matching sheet came from Life Science Day Book- great sources. I scanned them into my computer but cant seem to up load them. You could email me firstname.lastname@example.org I might be able to it that way if your interested
875 Activity Points
Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:24 AM
One of the activities we do is a "3d" Venn diagram of plant/animal cells. Student groups cut the organelles out of construction paper in the correct shape, decorate as time allows, and attach to a large Venn diagram where appropriate. The organelles are taped on one edge, so that the function can be written beneath each one.
410 Activity Points
Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:40 PM
I love this forum! I have found so many good ideas and am excited about next time I get to teach about cells. I loved the idea about making a model of cells out of fruit. I used candy and cookies for my students and allowed them to eat it, but with the new DOE Nutrition guidelines, that is not the best thing to be doing in the classroom. We also have a new "Fruits and Vegetables" program where students are being introduced to different fruits and vegetables in an effort to teach them about healthier foods. Utilizing healthier supplies in the classroom would be a good way to model responsible choices. Next time I will try this idea. Thanks!
Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:58 PM
I definitely found some good ideas in here. Students need those connections, otherwise they quickly forget. Many of my students remembered the analogy for each of the cell parts before following the connection to the cell organelle.
120 Activity Points
Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:48 AM
I've done different projects, one that remember as a project was to make a model of a cell and its organelles with Styrofoam and using materials like different colored pipe clears and arts&crafts materials. I think students can compare the organelles in the cells to a how a factory works in their explanation to help understand it better. These are just two of the things I remember doing while I was school and I think it can be reused.
4940 Activity Points
Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:58 AM
A really quick way to do an interactive cell organelle activity is Charade Statues. In groups the students draw a cell organelle out of a box. Each group has one minute to plan their statue to represent that organelle. All group members have to be involved in the statue, and the group should have people at varying heights. After the one minute is up they have one minute to get into position. At the end of time every group freezes. You can either have someone from the group explain how their statue demonstrates that organelle, or you can ask another student in the class to explain which organelle is being represented and why. The students can make their statue based off the structure or the function of the organelle. This is a great activity to incorporate the kinesthetic learners.
20495 Activity Points
Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:39 PM
Thanks - I really like this idea!
20 Activity Points
Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:11 PM
Because of all of the sharing of such awesome, creative ideas, I've planned to teach the cell organelles by using the 3D Venn Diagram and the gel in plastic bag this year. I think that these two activities will definitely allow me to teach these concepts in the time that I have left. The students will also be able to learn about the cell parts interactively, which they will love!
Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:38 AM
Ugh, I wrote a great post and something happened when I was uploading the picture and now it's gone! I found this cell cake and I would like to share it with everyone. It's from The Pioneer Woman website. The cake is covered with frosting and all the organelles are either made of candy or different colored frostings. It's colorful, beautiful, and yummy looking to eat!
cake.jpg (0.17 Mb)
Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:12 AM
Thanks Nancy for the cell jello idea! I love that it is hands on and what a great incentive to motivate the students. It is definitely a new way of looking at candy and I bet the students will always remember making a cell. I can't wait to try it.
1405 Activity Points
Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:56 PM
I'm teaching cells right now in the 4th grade and I'm having fun doing so. I used a rap I found on youtube:
I changed the words since it was geared towards 6th graders. I gave the students only the words and we read it. I then had them use a highlighter to highlight words they didn't know. We went over the words and discussed what they meant by the lyrics of the rap. Then they listened to the rap. They sang and learned the words to the rap. The music was very engaging.
The 2nd day they the students used vocabulary worksheets, text book and IPAD.
I am using Edmodo to facilitate class discussions on the cell as well as using the EDMODO Apps for plant cell and animal cell as homework and study guides. The IPAD also has an app for cells called iCell. (I used this to let the students know we will be constructing a model cell made of jello and candy - This will be their assessment) In using this app, they can begin to see the shapes and make determinations of what they can use as candy to mimic the organelle.
Students were broken into groups to build a "thinking map" all the while listening to the rap. Students were getting to know the purpose of the organelle and parts of the cell.
The 3rd class students will construct and label parts of the cell in pairs using jello molds from cupcake pan and cups. They will use the ipods to take pictures and videos to explain the parts of the cell using vocabulary.
The final assessment would be to construct a thinking map (double bubble map / venn diagram) to determine the similarities and differences of an animal cell and plant cell.
- socrative app with the IPAD and IPODs
makes quizzes, exit slips, questionnaires, etc.
- Edmodo discussions: students without internet access at home are allowed to come in early, during recess & lunch and afterschool to do computer work.
- Video / picture presentation jello mold
- Thinking map / Venn Diagram of an animal and plant cell
- picture and label
- written essay
Jello model of a cell - NSTA discussion board
IPAD apps: iCell / socrative
Edmodo.com: apps - plant and animal cell
Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:29 PM
Here is a good template for a Bingo Review game. It is basically an Excel spreadsheet where you type a word in one column and the definition in the second column. Then when you hit "Print" it gives you a master sheet and 25 Bingo Cards ready to go.
I also use a Cell Analogy Worksheet where students relate cell organelles to something they are familiar with like a football team or something. I really encourage students to think outside the box and some students have sone this...my favorite being "A cell is like the North Pole". I regret not asking the girls if I could keep their picture. When the project is over I hang them all on the wall and have each class period vote on the most creative for the OTHER class periods and not their own. I'll then hang small ribbons on the pictures like an art gallery.
2395 Activity Points
Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:42 PM
I am currently a pre- student teacher, and I am observing in a 7th grade science classroom. They are learning about the cell parts, and my cooperating teacher has found a song to help the students learn the parts of a cell. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rABKB5aS2Zg. The students love to sing songs, and this one is really catchy. I think they will enjoy it and it will help them remember the parts. I hope that helps.
2470 Activity Points
Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:28 PM
Cells are so fun to teach! You can visit my blog for online resources such as games, videos or interactive websites: http://buzzellsciencespot.blogspot.com/ I've been collected cell activities for many years now. My 7th graders are currently working on a cell organelle ornament project
Cell_Organelle_Ornament_project.doc (0.08 Mb)
345 Activity Points
Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:05 AM
When teaching cell parts I use the traditional"the cell is like a factory", but I like to add in my own hint of fun. I teach that the cell is like a protein factory and all of the organelles are somehow involved in this process. I then use the clip from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethyl are working in the chocolate factory. I have the students figure out how the parts of the factory in the clip are like the organelles in the cell if the chocolate were the protein. My students loved it! Plus - who doesn't love I Love Lucy?!?
135 Activity Points
Fri May 16, 2014 10:20 AM
This post is spooky. I used the same clip to show how substrate concentration affects enzyme activity. Lucy and Ethyl were the enzyme and the chocolates were the substrate. My students loved it!!!!
30 Activity Points
Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:52 PM
Nikki-loved your edible cell video. Great modeling for new 6th grade teachers, fun lesson for kids. I'm sharing your link again because it is further down this chat and your first link may have been missed earlier.
42660 Activity Points
Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:05 PM
As a quick practice/review, my students had fun with "cell aerobics". I assigned each of them an organelle, and they had to come up with a movement associated with it. They then had to come to the front of the room one-by-one to demonstrate and explain their movement. Once they had the movements down, I called out organelles, and they would do the movement to match it. We only just started this today (after some false starts learning the organelles..) and it seems to be working well so far!
1410 Activity Points
Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:24 PM
Ashley wrote, "I assigned each of them an organelle, and they had to come up with a movement associated with it"
What type of criteria do you give your students to help them develop their organelle's movement? How else do you use this in class?
58205 Activity Points
Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:52 AM
The criteria was that it had to be easy to do, not take too much time, and had to be indicative of the job of the organelle. I gave a few examples before they started of potential movements. Here are the movements they ended up picking:
- Nucleus: Point to your head, wrap your arms around your head like the nuclear membrane
- Cell membrane: Hold both arms out in front of you with your hands overlapping and palms facing out. (Stop in the name of love)
- Cytoplasm: Pretend to sip tea, wiggle your arms in a wavy motion
- Ribosome: Pretend to use a hammer in building something. Clap your hands together.
- Mitochondria: Clap your hands and throw them above your head (releasing energy)
- Chloroplast: Starting with your hands aboe your head, bring them down in a circle to the front of your chest (absorbing energy)
- Cell wall: Mime a wall in front of you
- Vacuole: Holding an arm in front of you (miming holding a bag) push your other hand below the arm (miming putting something in it)
- Endoplasmic Reticulum: Bend over to your side (to represent the shape), shuffle to the side (representing transport)
The kids enjoy reviewing the "dance" and are showing better recall of the organelles' names and their jobs.
Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:53 AM
This is a super resource. I am happy that I have found you! David, I am eager to use the bingo. I think my students are jeopardied out. Thanks for the template.
1550 Activity Points
Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:59 PM
Hi Loren -
You could organize a creative cell structure/function project around a "Cell-A-Bration" and organize their projects around the song "Celebrate".
There is a lot of fun biology music to get student's creative ideas flowing.
Try this one: Cells from Other Cells by Mr. Parr http://www.schooltube.com/video/61ba4d31d41a49eaadb2/
(I think his students are 6th graders, but I've used it with high school students).
I've even heard of a class that created a "walk through" 3-D cell in their classroom..... Lots of creative ideas for teaching cells out there.
27525 Activity Points
Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:25 AM
I saw this great AP Biology video in which students pretended to be various organelles in a pirate movie and talked about what the organelles did by enacting the movements and using organelle drawings as props in the background. They used vivid verbal descriptors and worked the theme into a movie clip. Most students will have some ability to edit videos on their cell phones and they love using these.
2395 Activity Points
Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:34 AM
This link contains a very thorough guide to organelles.http://ninja-pirate-viking-fairy.wikispaces.com/Boilogy?showComments=1
Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:13 AM
Wow! I wish I saw this thread sooner. Even though I taught my kids cells, I may just want to go back and do the gel activity in zip-locs! That is ay too cool to pass up!
I used the cells rap found here: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=-zafJKbMPA8&desktop_uri=%2Fwa...afJKbMPA8. My fourth graders not only loved it, I caught them singing it outside of the classroom and really getting into it. For the basic understanding of cells and cell parts, it does a great job. It could also be used as a hook at the beginning of your unit.
1210 Activity Points
Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:36 PM
I have a couple of lessons that might work for you. One is building a 3-D structure of cells using household materials or candy/food. The students can use any material, must label the cells, and also provide the functions for each organelle. My sophomore class loved this activity and they were super creative! However, when you do this project, one thing to be careful about is that many of them will try to take "short cuts." What I mean by that is, they may just label and describe the structure, but not define the proper function. Many of the students did become a little confused about which organelle to actually label and define. So it might be good to start with a lesson that asks the students to organize the important organelles and get their functions and their importance, then tie that to this project.
Another thing you can try to do, at least to introduce the topic, might be the "Cell Analogy" worksheet. Here are some links since there are many different forms of it.
Below is a link to that has a project where you do both the cell analogy and build a 3-D model of the cell (city)
I hope that link works... and that this might help you!
220 Activity Points
Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:13 AM
Try it from a different angle. I begin with prokaryotes and bacteria. Students label diagrams, and observe bacteria from prepared slides. I also have them classify bacteria and connect that with antibiotics so we get a bit of microbiology. It helps to begin with something fresh in 9th grade bio since most students do cover the basics of the cell in middle school. I connect back to classification and kingdoms which I have previously introduced. Bacteria will come up again when I teach biomolecules with food. Look for ways to weave the content throughout the course.
1540 Activity Points
Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:16 AM
Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:20 PM
Wow, so many great ideas! Sherilynn, thanks for sharing the cells rap! My fourth graders will love it. They seem to remember everything that is put to a song (we already have a song for the different states of matter and they sing it all the time). I can use the rap as we review for our upcoming Hawaii State Assessment.
950 Activity Points
Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:40 PM
Hi Loren, I noticed that someone has already mentioned an edible way to portray parts of the cells, but I would like to piggy back on that. I had a similar experience in my 7th grade classroom (I think it was 7th grade). My teacher told us to create either and animal or plan cell at home for a project and we could use whatever means we wished! She did hint that if it were an edible project, that people could share :). It was a great idea. I made an animal cell out of a simple cake sheet cake with all sorts of candies to represent a different functioning part of the cell. We had to write a paper on our project explaining our representation and why it is a functioning cell. It was the coolest project that I remember to date. If you want your kids to remember this project, I would go with an edible project :).
595 Activity Points
Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:19 AM
I like to stick to the basics with cell organelles. Something that I am doing right now is the basic cell-analogy project (a.k.a cell like a city). I like to follow up this activity with reinforcing worksheets and videos from youtube. Just go to youtube and search: cell organelles. There are many different videos with various learning levels.
I then like to do a candy-model of a cell. Students love candy and usually bring it to school, so why not utilize it (and eat it after) for education!
Another great websites that I tried using this past week was http://www.cellsalive.com/cells/cell_model.htm. It has a great interactive cell model where students can take notes from.
1060 Activity Points
Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:13 PM
I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but one good way is to use whole class kinesthetic modeling. That means getting the kids to model parts of the cells. For example, when it comes to cell membranes, you can get them to form a double circle and wave their hands to represent hydrophobic parts. You can get them to also go in and out of the cell--to represent movement of molecules.
Mary Ann Ng
3340 Activity Points
Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:40 PM
Please take a look at the the following link for my cell model project. http://teacherweb.com/OH/Waverly/penrod/apt59.aspx
Please comment on anything you might notice that I may need to think about changing.
I looked at the NGSS standards for middle school, and the new Ohio (2010) standards to try to determine what to include in my requirements.
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!
2295 Activity Points
Thu May 29, 2014 7:53 PM
The link to your cell project rubric is taking me to the NIH's "Inside a Cell" curriculum. Could you change the link so that I could see your rubric? Also, I am sure it is just the way the web page is formatting your work, the page is a little cluttered and confusing. Is this page for your own use or are you sending your students to it? If it is for your students, I would consider adding some headings and brief instructions. I am having a hard time seeing how your students are constructing a model. Again, I think this is how my computer is opening the downloaded files. Are you having them draw the current models of the specific eukaryotic organelles that you are listing in plant and animal cell foldable? Are they going to make a book-like foldable (aka Dinah Zike) or are they going to make foldables of the organelles (aka origami)? I look forward to talking with you more about this project. :-)
Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:54 AM
Hi Loren!There are many different ways to make this lesson more interesting and you have come to the right place! I taught a lesson on cells last year and to make it more interesting I divided the class into two groups, each group had a cake. Each cake was in the shape of an animal or plant cell. Additionally, I gave each group a bag of tags on toothpicks; they had to correctly identify each organelle in the cell before the other group did. The winning team got to eat the cake first.This is fun for all grade levels, I believe and you can increase difficulties by adding more organelles to identify. Additionally, there is an interesting thread I was reading earlier titles "Cell Structure and Function." And provides a lot of interesting resources for teachers, you should check it out!Lastly, depending on your grade level, there is a book that is free on the Learning Center and if you are interested in going deeper with your students it would be a great resource.
Biological Nanomachines: Viruses by: M. Gail Jones
945 Activity Points
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