Teacher's Corner

Background Standards Objectives Students


Cells are the fundamental unit of life and thus to understand the cellprocess is to begin to understand life. All cells give rise to other cellsthrough cellular replication. The process of mitosis occurs in eukaryoticcells.

The cell is like a living factory. It is composed of organelles thatcarry out particular function very similar to the way organs carry outfunctions in the human body. Some of the organells and their function arethe nucleus which contains the inherited material or DNA. The DNA containsthe information to manufacture proteins and thus control the functionsof the cell. Another cell organell is the mitochondrion which controlsthe process of respiration and the chloroplast regulates photosynthesis.The other organells can be explored on line. As the students discover thestructures and their functions they will begin to see the interactionsbetween them. Help the students keep focused on the idea that the cellis not a static structure but that all of the organells interact and theentire process is life.

It is very important that students propose questions to investigatecell structures and their functions.

To get students started you could pose questions like:
What are organells?, or What are the functions of the organells?
How do the organells interact?

You may want to give the students the following guidelines as they developtheir story, play, presentation, poster or video on the cell.

This lesson addresses the following California Science Content Standards.

Grades 9-12

Life, Earth, & Physical Sciences

Earth Science

1a: Cells are enclosed within semi-permeable membranes that regulate their interaction with their surroundings.

1b: Enzymes are proteins and catalyze biochemical reactions without altering the reaction equilibrium. The activity of enzymes depends on the temperature, ionic conditions and pH of the surroundings.

1d: The Central Dogma of molecular biology outlines the flow of information from transcription of RNA in the nucleus to translation of proteins on ribosomes in the cytoplasm.

1e: The role of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in secretion of proteins.

1f: Usable energy is captured from sunlight by chloroplasts, and stored via the synthesis of sugar from carbon dioxide.

1g: The role of the mitochondria in making stored chemical bond energy available to cells by completing the breakdown of glucose to carbon dioxide.

Investigation & Experimentation


In this lesson, students in grades 5-12 should be able to accomplish the following:




You will be creating a cell story. This is a creative story in whichyou will share your knowledge of the cell organelles, nucleus, cytosol,membrane and the functions of all of these parts.

You will start your work on the cell story with a description of thecell membrane since that is the first structure that you see when you viewthe cell. You should include a description of the membrane stucture (phospholipidbi-layer and proteins). Please include a description of passive transport,explaining diffusion and osmosis. A description of one of the followingwater environments for the cell will be included when describing osmosis:hypotonic, hypertonic, isotonic. Also, include a description of facilitateddiffusion and a description of active transport. When describing activetransport explain protein activated transport and endocytosis, either phagocytosisor pinocytosis.

After you have described the cell membrane then include an explanationof respiration and how the mitochondria is involved with this process.You will need to describe glycolysis, and the krebs cycle for this process.Rember to describe the electron transport chain. Include in you story adescription of photosynthesis and how the chloroplast is involved in thisprocess. Explain both the light reaction and Calvin cycle or dark reaction.

You will need a description of the structure and function of the followingorganelles: endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus or golgi body, lysosome,vacuole, vesicle and microtubules as part of the cytoskeleton.

In another section you will need to explain the nature and functionsof DNA including the stucture of DNA and DNA replication as you elaborateon the structure of the nucleus. The structure of the nucleus will includethe nucleolus, nuclear envelope, and chromatin material or DNA. The transcriptionof the DNA creating a messenger RNA will be an important step in makingthe transition to explain how the nucleus controls cellular functions.Then the ribosomes will be described along with the process of proteinsynthesis or translation.

Finally you will need to share the concept of cellular division in theprocess of mitosis. Please include all of the steps (prophase, metaphase,anaphase and telophase).

Enjoy this assignment. Make it as fun and creative as possible and takeadvantage of the resources on line. It is a very challenging assignment.I believe you will have a lot of fun!

This activity is part of a large simulation which the students can participatein. The activity is referenced under Jeanand Eugene Genetic Analysis.

Here are some suggested activities to do as further investigations related to this topic.

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