This fun project takes about a week (4 days without, 6 days with physical models) and is totally student led (nearly all the work the teacher must do has been done for you in the following documents!).
In this project one giant class cell is made that can be attached to a wall, with organelles that can be removed via velcro. This makes it really convenient when certain organelles are to be discussed independently, you can simply remove the model of the specific organelle off the wall for students to study it, and velcro it back when finished.
In groups, students build parts of the cell to combine into one class cell and do research to create a gallery walk for their peers to learn from and evaluate their projects. Students use premade note pages and rubrics during the gallery walk. Students also answer teacher written, but not previously disclosed, questions while viewing each project, giving you immediate feedback on the thoroughness of each groups research and each student's understanding. No lecture, no oral presentations, no boredom! Yet, this project uses a lot of skills and checking for understanding. And with only 9 projects and 2 days of gallery walks, you will have almost all your grading done during class!
In addition to helping students learn how cells and organelles in the cells work, this project requires students to make models, do research, practice reasoning and presentation skills, and make connections and support an argument between organelle functions and necessary functions of life. It also introduces students to ecology (eukaryotic kingdoms and autrotrophs and heterotrophs), gene expression, photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
This project is made with 9th and 10th graders in mind, but could easily be simplified for middle school age kids by eliminating some of the informational requirements.
Teacher Notes: suggestions for explaining and grading each portion of the project and assisting students without directly giving them ideas or answers as well as day by day lesson plans..
Other Teacher/Student Ancillaries (10): student instructions for the cell project, cell project rubric, cell project student score cards, student sign-up page, cards to randomly assign student groups, group specific information cards, student Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (C-E-R) worksheet, student data tables, peer evaluation cards, and teacher written content questions with answer key and evaluation of other groups,
Power Points (2): One interactive cell organelle review power point and one power point on academic honesty that can be used with this project, or just as a short lesson at the beginning of the year to make sure students understand expectations of academic honesty, including referencing.