This lesson is designed to be an introduction into a middle school cells unit, giving students a chance to discover ideas about cells on their own before jumping into higher level concepts. The lesson includes several different cell activities for middle school. Students begin the lesson with a card sort activity, asking the question: What is required for something to be “living?” Next, students engage in a maker’s space activity where they model different images of cells and ask the question: Do all cells look the same? Finally, students come together as a class to discuss their findings, engage in a reading passage, and create a set of notes about the basics of cells.
Recommended Age Group: middle school, grades 6-8
Next Generation Science Standards
MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
MS-LS1-2 Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
Common Core Standards - ELA
RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
What is required for something to be considered “living?”
Are all cells the same?
This lesson involves several cell activities for middle school including:
Printable task cards for a living/non-living card sort activity (grey scale and color)
Student worksheet for the card sort activity
Student Instructions and teacher tips for running a successful maker's space lab
Reading passage about cell theory
Note-taking guides (blank, partial, and complete)