This activity is best used following a short introduction to cells, but not a long, detailed lecture about cells. Students will be identifying cell organelles on the models (animal, skeletal muscle and neuron cells) and describing their shape, structure, number and functions using the models provided in the classroom and their textbooks or online resources. Students will be required to draw, thereby developing their observation skills. Feel free to provide colored pencils so students can jazz up their sketches!
Students will be required to think critically, making predictions about the function of a cell based on the number of a certain organelle. For example, why would some cells have more mitochondria than another? This interactive laboratory/class activity will help students develop their observational and critical thinking skills while learning about cell organelles and relies on having models of animal cells, skeletal muscle cells and neurons in the classroom. This activity is not specific to any brand of model and can be used with images from any textbook as well. This activity would be ideal as an inquiry-based introduction to cells or as a review of cells in upper-level biology courses. Additionally, students can work individually or in teams, thereby promoting teamwork and discussion.
This activity is a great prelude to a wet lab on cells where students make their own wet mount of onion cells and cheek cells.
Grades: I have used this activity with high school anatomy & physiology courses/topics and college level anatomy & physiology courses (as a review).
Time: Approximately 50-60 minutes for high school and college students
Preparation: minimal but should include a short introduction to cells including the overall structure of most cells (nucleus, cytoplasm and plasma membrane).
Standards: Life Science: Cells
Grades 9-12 – use as review of previous material
• Identify the cellular organelles associated with major cell processes
College - Use as review in Anatomy & Physiology courses
• Animal cell model (any brand)
• Skeletal muscle cell model (any brand)
• Neuron cell model (any brand)
• Textbook or Online resource
• Colored pencils
Your 17 page download will include the student activity (8 pages), answers (8 pages) and suggestions for usage in the classroom (1 page). Students will record their answers directly on the worksheets. Both the Word document (editable) and the pdf version are included.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this activity!