Cell Chat: Cell Structure and Function Lab Stations

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Amy Brown Science

Amy Brown Science

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These 11 "Cell Chat" lab stations will ensure that your students have mastered the concepts that you cover in your unit on cells. Students will work together to solve a problem, complete a task, and /or carry out a small experiment at each of the 11 stations. I use the word “chat” to emphasize to my students that they are to work together and have a productive discussion at each lab station in order to maximize their understanding and mastery of the concepts being covered.

What is included in this product?

  • 26 Pages of Student Worksheets
  • 11 Cell Chat Lab Station Instruction Cards
  • 9 Page Teacher Guide
  • 20 Page Teacher Answer Key
  • 6 Additional Lab Station Diagrams

What is the purpose of this activity?

My “Chat” activities involve lab stations and cooperative student groups. This type of student interaction is a powerful teaching tool. The relaxed atmosphere of a small group setting often leads to increased mastery of the subject matter content.

This chat activity covers the topics found in a unit on cell structure and function. Students will explore the history of the cell, and learn that there are limits to cell growth. Students will learn to make wet mount slides, and discover the benefits of using stains. Students will gain the hands-on experience they need to improve their microscopy skills. At one lab station students will determine surface area to volume ratios in cells, while watching the mitochondria in action at another station. Most importantly, students will extensively review cell organelles, the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and the differences between plant and animal cells.

The lab stations are independent of each other. Do just a few lab stations or do them all! Stations not requiring lab equipment can be completed with a sub, or as a homework assignment.

All materials are completely editable.

Check out the preview for a detailed description of each lab station and a complete materials list.


Love my chat activities? Check these out:


What are the benefits of this activity?

  • Group work is an important part of what we do in a science class, and it is a skill that will be needed throughout life. Lab station activities teach students how to work together to achieve a goal.
  • Lab Stations break down the information into smaller and more manageable units. This prevents students from becoming overwhelmed when faced with massive amounts of information.
  • These lab stations will ensure that your students have mastered the basic concepts of cell structure and function.
  • Lab stations are a great review tool for the unit test.
  • "Students helping students" is a powerful teaching tool.

What will the students be doing?

There are 11 lab stations. Students will rotate through the stations, completing the tasks at each station. Each station will highlight an cell-related task to be completed by the group as well as a worksheet of analysis questions. There are 26 pages of student worksheets.

Need to save paper? No problem! Place one copy of the student worksheet at each lab station and have students complete the work on their own notebook paper.

What are the stations in this activity?

  • Station: The History of Cell Studies
  • Station: Are There Limits to Cell Growth?
  • Station: Cell Organelles
  • Station: Prokaryotic or Eukaryotic?
  • Station: Comparing Plant and Animal Cells
  • Station: Plant Cell Organelles
  • Station: The Mitochondria
  • Station: Levels of Cellular Organization
  • Station: Comparing Specialized Cells
  • Station: The Cell Membrane
  • Station: Cell Acrostic Puzzle

What concepts are covered?

  • The Discovery of the Cell. Students will read a short biography about Robert Hooke and answer a set of analysis questions.
  • Limits to Cell Growth: Students will determine the surface area to volume ratio in a variety of cells.
  • Organelles and structures found in animal cells. Students will label the cell and review the functions of the nucleus, nucleolus, nuclear membrane, chromosomes, ribosomes, rough ER, smooth ER, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, vacuoles, mitochondria, the cytoskeleton, the cell membrane, and centrioles.
  • Organelles and structures found in plant cells. Students will label the plant cell and review the functions of the large central vacuole, chloroplasts, and cell wall.
  • Differences between plant and animal cells.
  • Levels of Cellular Organization: Unicellular, colonial, multicellular, cell specialization, tissues, organs, systems.
  • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells: Definitions and differences between these two types of cells.
  • Structure of the Cell Membrane: Phospholipid bilayer, integral proteins, transport proteins, cell markers, carbohydrates.

The 9-page teacher guide includes:

  • Purpose of the activity.
  • Description of what students will be doing.
  • How to carry out your role as facilitator.
  • Materials List
  • Complete instructions for how to set up each lab station.
  • Tips and suggestions for successful completion of the activity.

This product also includes a very detailed 20-Page Teacher Answer Key

Related products include:

Cell Structure and Function Bundle

Cell Structure and Function PowerPoint and Notes

Cell Organelle Acrostic Puzzle

Cell Organelles Mix -n- Match Review Game

Biology Lab: Cell Structure and Function

Worksheet: The Importance of Surface Area to Volume Ratio in Cells

Cells (Plant and Animal) Quiz / Homework / Review

BOOM Cards for Cell Organelles High School Edition

BOOM Cards for Cell Organelles Middle School Edition

Cell Organelles Matching Worksheet

Lab: Diversity of Cell Structures

Cell Organelles Crossword Puzzle

Quiz or Study Guide: Introduction to Cells

Quiz or Study Guide: The Animal Cell

Quiz or Study Guide: The Plant Cell

Quiz or Study Guide: Transport Across Membranes

Test: Cell Structure and Function and Membrane Transport

Cell Structure and Physiology Warm Ups, or Bell Ringers

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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells. Emphasis is on developing evidence that living things are made of cells, distinguishing between living and non-living cells, and understanding that living things may be made of one cell or many and varied cells.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways the parts of cells contribute to the function. Emphasis is on the cell functioning as a whole system and the primary role of identified parts of the cell, specifically the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall. Assessment of organelle structure/function relationships is limited to the cell wall and cell membrane. Assessment of the function of the other organelles is limited to their relationship to the whole cell. Assessment does not include the biochemical function of cells or cell parts.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
Total Pages
73 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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