Cells are made of organelles!

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.  In order to earn organelles for their models, groups had to successfully answer instructors’ questions.  They then received that part or their model (e.g. 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!

Author

Dr. Maureen Griffin

Maureen earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. While at Penn, she developed a novel micro-mechanical technique called micropipette peeling to investigate the role of muscle cell adhesion in normal and diseased skeletal muscle cells. After graduating, Maureen worked full time as a post-doctoral researcher and then a staff scientist a SelectX Pharmaceuticals. She joined the teaching staff in 2008 and was excited to be made an executive staff member in 2009. Maureen also continued to consult part time for SelectX until her daughter's birth in 2009; now she is focused on Science from Scientists and, of course, her children. Maureen uses her spare time to read, blog, cook, and renovate her house.

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