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In this 5E Model activity bundle, students explore the differences between plant and animal cells to develop their understanding of the relationship between the structure of cells and their overall function. In the first explore activity, students investigate cell structures using microscopes. They then use a web resource (requires Adobe Flash Player) to understand the structures within cells. In an additional explore activity, students build a simple model of the cell membrane to understand how this specific structure supports cell functioning. Then, students dive into another web resources (requires Adobe Flash Player) to understand how a cell's parts interact to support the function of the cell as a whole. Students elaborate on their understanding through an engineering design activity where they construct their own cell membrane, taking a closer look at the structure of the cell membrane specifically. In the last elaborate activity, students consider the cell as a system, comparing it to another system of choice that they are familiar with (a city, factory, school, family, etc.)
This activity is part of the middle school unit Organization of Living Things: Body Invaders and is designed to follow the explore/explain activity bundle, Discovering Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells.
This activity bundle builds towards these standards:
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of 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.
5E Model Phase: Explore, Explain, and Elaborate
Students will identify common organelles of eukaryotes.
Students will describe the characteristics of animal and plant cells.
Students will compare and contrast animal and plant cells to identify similarities and differences.
Students will use a model to illustrate how the cell membrane contributes to cell function.
I can compare and contrast animal and plant cells to identify similarities and differences.
I can identify important organelles of eukaryotic cells and explain how they contribute to cellular function.
I can use a model to explain how the cell membrane contributes to cell function.
Science and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Structure and Function
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
The first activity – Investigating Cell Structures – will require instruction on how to use microscopes and, potentially, slide preparation. Also, it may be helpful to spend a few moments discussing how to make proper scientific drawings. In this lab, students will work independently to explore and draw the structures of an onion cell and a cheek cell. If this is not an option, students can complete the task using prepared slides of animal and plant cells. This would negate the need for experience preparing slides. It is helpful for students to be familiar with the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and organisms. The subsequent activities build upon each other using an explore and explain sequence.
The Exploring Plant and Animal Cells activity bundle is designed to follow the explore/explain activity bundle, Discovering Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells. Discovering Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells is not included in this resource. Rather, these are a part of the complete unit, Organization of Living Things: Body Invaders. You can find additional resources in the iExploreScience store on TeachersPayTeachers or at the Science Teacher Tribe.
Teacher Guide (22 pages)
Student Activity Sheets (17 pages)
includes Answer Keys
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