Cell City!

Cell City!

In this week’s lesson we learned all about cells, the microscopic units that are the building blocks of all living things. Students discussed the size of cells and investigated all the microscopic parts or “organelles” that have important jobs within each cell.  They then had a chance to show off their knowledge and build their own cell models.  Groups competed to see which team could complete their model first.   In order to earn organelles for their models, groups had to successfully answer instructors’ questions.   They then received that part or their model (eg. plastic bag for cell membrane; ping pong ball for nucleus). Their favorite parts of the model were the artificial snow that represented the cytoplasm and the miniature pigs representing lysosomes!

This was an interactive way for students to learn about and build their own cells.  For easier understanding, every part of the cell was related to things you would find in a city (eg. nucleus was city hall as it is the “planner” of the cell and mitochondria are the power plants).  By the end of the lesson, everybody had a complete cell model, and a better understanding of the inner workings of the cell!


¡La cuidad célula!

En la lección de esta semana aprendimos sobre las células. La célula es la unidad estructural de todos los seres vivos. Conversamos sobre el tamaño microscópico de las células y sobre las importantes funciones de sus “organelos”, que son las “partes” de las células. Luego, los estudiantes tuvieron la oportunidad de demostrar lo aprendido al construir sus propias células modelo. Se dividieron en grupos para competir y ver quien terminaba primero de armar el modelo. Los estudiantes debían “ganar” los organelos para sus modelos. Para ésto los alumnos debían primero contestar correctamente las preguntas que los instructores les hacían y luego recibían las partes para sus modelos. Por ejemplo una bolsa plástica que representaba la membrana celular o una pelota de ping pong para representar el núcleo. Los componentes favoritos de los estudiantes fueron la nieve artificial que hacía las veces de el citoplasma y los cerdos miniatura que representaban los lisosomas.

Mediante esta actividad interactiva los estudiantes aprendieron a construir sus propias células. Para facilitar la compresión, cada parte de la célula fue relacionada a cosas que se encuentran en una ciudad. Por ejemplo, el núcleo de la célula era el ayuntamiento, ya que es el organelo “planificador” y las mitocondrias eran plantas de energía. Al final de la clase, todos los grupos completaron los modelos y lograron entender las propiedades de las células.



Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

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