Animal cells are more complicated than a simple onion cell; they have lysosomes, mitochondria and a nucleus. Making a model of an animal cell can be interactive and enjoyable when made with the right materials. Various everyday, easily-found items can be used to make such a model.
Construct this model no more than two days beforehand to prevent decay, and get help from parents before performing any carving with a knife. As you would for Halloween, hollow out a large pumpkin. Next, carve a large circle on the side by which to see inside and place the objects. Using other vegetables like carrots, beets, zucchini and potatoes, carve each into the various cell parts. Use a small red potato for the nucleus, cabbage pieces for the Golgi apparatus and julienne carrot slices for mitochondria. Use toothpicks to stick through the vegetables and to hold them in place inside the pumpkin.
To avoid wasting food, use the excess vegetables to make a stir-fry dish.
Make a model using candy. For the base, make a circle sheet cake and cover it with white icing. Decorate the top of the model with candy to symbolize its components. Use red string licorice to represent the cell membrane and gummy worms for the Golgi apparatus. Make indentations in the cake to symbolize the vacuoles. Use a large jawbreaker to place in the center of the cake for the nucleus. Find other candies in various shapes and colors, like jelly beans, lemon drops and chocolate squares, to represent the other cellular components.
Use pizza to teach cell structure. Provide each kid with a picture of an animal cell and ask them to recreate the image on pizza dough using various toppings. Topping ideas include black olives, string cheese, pepperoni, pineapple and bell peppers. Assign this project to do at home, or have them bring the items from their house. Dedicate the class period to watching them assemble the pizza and making a key for what each topping represents.
Go to the store and get the multi-pack boxes of different cereals as well as a large poster board. With a pencil, lightly draw the animal cell and its parts to serve as a blueprint. Decide which cereal will represent the cell parts. Use coco puff balls for lysosomes, small rice crispies for ribosomes, and shredded wheat for the mitochondrion. Next, glue pieces of cereal onto the poster and make a legend.
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