Students color-code a schematic of a cell and its cell membrane structures. Then they complete the "Build-a-Membrane" activity found at http://learn.genetics.utah.edu. This reinforces their understanding of the structure and function of animal cells, and shows them the importance of being able to construct a tangible model of something that is otherwise difficult to see.
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- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- I. Research and development is a specific problem-solving approach that is used intensively in business and industry to prepare devices and systems for the marketplace. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- National Science Education Standards: Science
- Content Standard A: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry Understandings about scientific inquiry (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Content Standard C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of The cell Molecular basis of heredity Biological evolution Interdependence of organisms Matter, energy, and organization in living systems Behavior of organisms (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Define the relationship between the structure and function of a cell membrane.
- Describe the different types of membrane proteins.
- Build a model cell membrane.
- colored pencils
- tape and scissors
- different colored paper
- Animal Cell Coloring Sheet, one per student, available at http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/cellcolor.html
- Build-a-Membrane template and instructions, available at http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/cells/BuildAMembrane.pdf
|A semi-permeable membrane that encapsulates a cell's cytoplasm.|
|A protein molecule attached to the membrane of a cell or organelle.|
|A structure in a cell that performs a specified task or function. Found in eukaryotic cells.|
Before the Activity
- Gather materials and make copies of the Animal Cell Coloring Sheet, available at http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/cellcolor.html.
- Obtain from the University of Utah's Teach Genetics website the instructions and templates for the Build-a-Membrane activity at http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/. Make enough copies of the templates for all students. Either print out the instructions, or have students read them online.
With the Students
- Distribute the materials and worksheets for the cell coloring page.
- Make sure all students read the instructions carefully. This is a wonderful student-directed activity, so let them investigate and only provide instructions and guidance as they ask questions.
- Once students have completed the coloring portion, divide the class into small groups and direct them to the Build-a-Membrane exercise, following the instructions found at http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/cells/BuildAMembrane.pdf.
- Conclude by assembling together the "membrane-pieces" with those from other groups in the class to form a large cell membrane model. Ask students the Investigating Questions.
- What are some of the structures within a cell?
- What are their functions?
- What is nanoscience, and how does it relate to studying cells?
- Why is it important for engineers to build models of cells?
Additional Multimedia Support
Dictionary.com. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Accessed June 21, 2010. http://www.dictionary.com
Melinda M. Higgins, Amber Spolarich
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2010 Vanderbilt University
VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Last modified: February 4, 2016