Why are cells so small? Why don't cells grow to larger sizes? What determines how big a cell can get?
These are questions often asked by students in a biology or life science class. Students will discover the answers to these questions in this worksheet on surface area to volume ratio in cells. This activity is suitable for students in grades 8 and above.
In this exercise the student will learn: (1) How the surface area to volume ratio changes as the cell grows larger, and (2) The consequences to the cell if the cell becomes too large.
This worksheet can be used as reinforcement to your own unit on cell structure and function, or it can be used as a stand alone lesson. The four page worksheet begins with informational text on how surface area to volume ratios affect the growth of cells. This informational text can be used as a critical reading exercise. Following the introductory paragraphs, students are given the equations for determining the volume and surface area of cubes, rectangles and spheres. The combination of critical reading with the incorporation of mathematical concepts meets Common Core standards.
Students are given cubes, rectangles and spheres. They must calculate the volume, area, and surface area of each. Finally, the student will calculate the surface area to volume ratio. The worksheet contains 18 calculations and 10 analysis questions.
Teacher answer key is included. The download will include both a Word document and pdf of the worksheet.