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Unit: Cells

Quick Look

Grade Level: 7 (6-8)

Choose From: 3 lessons and 3 activities

Subject Areas: Biology, Life Science

Two photos: A spherical spongy green, orange and blue orb. Web-like structures with green centers and purple and pale yellow areas.
Detailed microscopic images of living cells.
Copyright © National Institute of General Medical Sciences , National Institutes of Health http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Publications/FactSheet_Cells.htm


In this unit, students look at the components of cells and their functions and discover the controversy behind stem cell research. The first lesson focuses on the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. In the second lesson, students learn about the basics of cellular respiration. They also learn about the application of cellular respiration to engineering and bioremediation. The third lesson continues students' education on cells in the human body and how (and why) engineers are involved in the research of stem cell behavior.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

Engineers design systems to remove harmful bacteria found in drinking water. So, clearly, they know a lot about cell behavior in order to design beneficial systems. And, engineers use their knowledge of cells to make products that offer strong protection against harmful bacteria and also enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria (such as soap vs. compounds to break down harmful pollution). Through the process of bioremediation, engineers use their knowledge of cells to promote the growth of cells that break down toxic compounds into harmless byproducts that aid in the protection of our environment.

From engineering tools for observation on the molecular level to chemical and bioengineering of natural fluorescent dyes to examine cell replication in an organism, engineering developments and design have helped advance research of all types of cells. Engineering influences science and medical research by facilitating the understanding of how cells are influenced in all directions by their environment and how they behave in our bodies.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

See individual lessons and activities for standards alignment.

Unit Schedule


© 2008 by Regents of the University of Colorado


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Supporting Program

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder


This digital library content was developed by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program under National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0338326. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: January 19, 2021

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