Studying plant and animal cells is a great way for students to understand the most basic level of life. While some organisms, such as bacteria, are made up of a single cell, other organisms, such as plants, animals and even humans are made up of trillions of cells. Cells make up almost all of the body, including bones, skin, muscles and nerves. All cells have the ability to metabolize food to get energy, grow, reproduce and respond to the environment.
Plant Cells or Animal Cells
One of the easiest ways to help students learn about the different cells is to introduce them to the two main types of cells; the plant cell and the animal cell. Showing students what cells look like is also a great way to help them visualize what the difference is between certain cells. For example, comparing plant cells, such as from a lettuce leaf to animal cells (from a swab inside their cheek) can be viewed under a microscope. If a microscope isn’t available, consider using flip cards or online study guides with pictures. Make sure to point out what plant and animal cells have in common and how they are different.
How Are Cells Different?
There is a lot of different types of cells and each type has its own specific “job”. For example, humans (animals) have nerve cells that can sometimes be as long as the body; stretching from the feet to the spinal cord. These nerve cells are responsible for transporting messages throughout the body. There are two primary categories; eukaryotic and prokaryotic.
- Eukaryotic cells are generally bigger and more complex than prokaryotic cells. Eukaryotic cells also have a defined cell nucleus that houses its DNA. This is the type of cells found in plants and animals.
- Prokaryotic cells are small, simple cells that do not have a nucleus. Prokaryotic cells are small and have three main regions; the outside protection, which consists of the cell wall, membrane and capsule, the flagella, which helps the cell to move and the inside of the cell, known as the cytoplasmic region, which includes the nucleoid, the cytoplasm and ribosomes
Parts of a Cell
A cells has a lot of different parts and functions, including:
- – The membrane, which is the outer covering (protects the cell)
- – Mitochondria, which is how the cell gets energy
- – Ribosomes make a lot of different things that a cell needs to function
- – The nucleus is the brain of the cell
- – Cytoplasm is mostly water and the other components of the cell float around it
- – Lysosomes are what helps to get rid of unwanted substances and waste that may get into the cell
Cells can be a complex thing to learn, but lessons and learning can be made easier by using as many visual aids as possible, including flip cards and study guides. Use study guides to help students learn to compare and contrast the structures of plant and animal cells and use flip cards to help students identify the various parts of the cell.