Investigation Sequence


Cell Model

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Focus Questions



Content: Earth, Physical, & Life

Primary- Each plant and animal have different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

Intermediate- Each type of cell, tissue, and organ has a distinct structure and set of functions that serve the organism as a whole.

Middle-Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. They grow and divide, thereby producing more cells.

Cross cutting concepts

Primary - Models are structures that are similar to real objects in some ways, which may be missing detail, different size, or not able to do all the same things.

Intermediate - Models are structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes of events.

Middle - Models can be used to think about events or process that happen very slow, fast, or on too small or large scale to change easily or safely.

Science Practice


Personal, Social, Technology, Nature of Science, History


Background information

Animal Cell Model

Materials: organelle/function cards, transparency of animal cell, construction paper, scissors, crayons, colored pencils, markers, example cells.


1. Cell membrane: controls passage of materials into and out of the cell.

2. Centriole: takes part in cell production.

3. Cytoplasm: consists of fluid and organelles in which most cell function occurs; includes parts of cell other than nucleus and cell membrane.\

4. Flagellum: locomotion; helps move around

5. Lysosome: digests materials in the cell.

6. Mitochondrion: produces energy for the cell

7. Endoplasmic Reticulum: transports substances within the cell

            -smooth- no ribosome’s; assembles lipids

            -rough- closest to nucleus: assembles proteins out of amino acid.

8. Golgi Apparatus: transports substances to the surface of the cell and proteins get finishing touches; modify, pack, and sorts.

9. Nuclear Membrane: surrounds nucleus and controls passage of materials into and out of nucleus.

10. Nucleolus: takes part in production of ribosomes.

11. Nucleus: Controls all cell functions.

12. Nuclear pores: passage way between, in and out.

13. Ribosome: makes protein for the cell.

Activity Sequence

Exploration Activity

Invention Activities

Expansion Activity

Activity Descriptions


1. As students walk into the door give them cards. One person will have an organelle and another student will have the function of that organelle.

2. Tell students that they have to find the corresponding organelle or function with another student in the classroom.

3. Put transparency of animal cell on the overhead projector.

4. Tell students that their groups will come up to the front of the room, point out their organelle in the cell and describe what the function of organelle is.

5. Explain to the students that they are making a model of the cell that we just reviewed.

6. They are going to imagine that they cut a cell in half and then sliced off a piece of that cell the width of a piece of paper.  You are going to make a model of that slice.

7. Show example that you made before hand or examples from other years.

8. All cells are different so every cell in the class should be different.

9. Let students work on their cells.

10. How do you think models helped you learn about animal cell structure? Process in groups.

11. If time, have some students share their cells.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes