Cells: Wrap up

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Students will be able to show an understanding of the structures and functions of the cells and the types of cells.

Big Idea

The inside of a cell is as complex as the inside of the body.

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The purpose of this lesson is to wrap up our learning about cells in a way that students show what they learned. Also, I have a chance to re-emphasize the main ideas, and that is intended to make students see connections with learning throughout the unit. 

Strategies to look for:

Concept map -  I use a concept map to connect the learning with previous mini-units.


3 minutes

Learning Goal:  Show understanding of types of cells and structures inside cells.

Opening Question: How is a plant cell different from an animal cell.

As the students come into the classroom, I stand at the door and remind them to "Get Ready" (Get their folders out of the bin) "Get Set" (Get in their seats with a pencil) and "Get Engaged" (Get started on the learning goal).  Being at the door while I say this allows me to do hall duty and help the students get started.  


5 minutes

Today we are watching the Inner Life of the Cell video for the last time.  Before watching it, I congratulate the students on all the things they have learned and invite them to enjoy one last view of this video.  At the end of the video, I ask them to point out structures and functions they saw.


10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to "clean-up" anything that needed a second look during the mini-unit.  Today, I decided to focus on making sure that students could identify the type of cell from a picture and give evidence to support their conclusion.  I use the pictures below and have the students in teams decide what type of cell it is and how they knew.  As the students are answering the questions, I walk around and listen to their conversations, stopping to correct any misconceptions that I hear. 


10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to show students the connections between the different lessons in the unit.

One problem that I think all teachers face is making connections explicit and clear. A strategy that has really helped me with this is making concept maps with the students.  To do this I pull students to the back of my room by one of my unused white boards.  We have three norms at the board.

  • Everyone sits on the floor.
  • Everyone brings their map paper and a pencil.
  • Everyone raises their hand to talk. 

Students are prepared for this process because as we enter each unit, I print out the Essential Learnings on tag board for the students.  This includes the success criteria for each standard and a individual learning tracker.  I give students a plastic cover to keep them in.  This simple structure increases their worth to kids, because it demonstrates their importance.  Students create their concept maps on the back of the paper where they are tracking their learning.

I sketch out the unit on the board and fill in some details (highlights!).  Students have the freedom to add more details to their maps.  With each mini-unit, the maps grow in detail and connections. 

Assessment 1

10 minutes

I have a set of Chromebooks in my room and gave this test on Schoology.  I really like using Schoology for tests because it allows me to gather data and see trends easily.  Notice that this test is short and does not include all the information of the unit.  Students are also turning in their cell model projects today and this is intended to show their understanding of the structures and functions of a cell.   

Assessment 2

10 minutes

The Cell Model Project is a performance assessment assigned last week.  The students had some time to work in class but the expectation was that if they choose to do a model they would be working at home.  

The project involves two parts.  

1) Students chose to do a model or a poster.  I give students the option of a poster to support my free and reduced lunch students.  They can still make a fabulous poster that looks the same or better than anybody else's with no financial outlay.  Models can be made out of any material but often students purchase materials.

2) Students fill in the structure/function/picture/thinking chart.  This is where students actually demonstrate understanding of the structure and function of cell organelles.  Advanced students are encouraged to use metaphors as opposed to creating a basic model, as this allows them to display more nuanced thinking.  For example, a student might say, "I chose a whiffle ball for the nucleus because it has holes in it which shows that there is movement and also because it is hollow and can hold things inside".  

As the cell models come in, I display them like a museum.  Students look at everyone's work and are encouraged to have discussions and give feedback by using the rubric.  Depending on time, students can vote on their favorites.  


3 minutes

Closure is one of the most important parts of the class.  It is the last chance that you have to focus on the main learning idea and push student thinking.  However, it is also one of the most difficult parts of class because of timing.  It is easy to end up with 1 min or 5 min depending on how the class has gone so far.  To prepare for this, I use three basic ways of closing my class.  I keep an eye on the time and then choose which is most appropriate for the time I have left. 

<1 min-  Oh no!  The bell either just rang or is about to ring.  I grab the students' attention and quickly summarize the main point of the lesson.  For this lesson I would say, "Great work on cells Everybody!  Our next unit is going to be looking at how cells, tissues, organs, and systems work for the body!"

2-3 min- I pull the kids together, summarize the lesson and offer a thinking question.  For this lesson I would say, "Today we finished up our learning on cells.  What do you think were the 2-or 3 most important things you learned about cells in this unit."  I ask the kids to Think-Pair-Share and then call on a few.  

5 min- I do the same as above, but ask the students to Write-Think-Pair-Share.  They would write on sticky notes and put them on the exit chart on the door in the back.  This allows me to stand in the hall and do hall duty, while looking at the responses from the students.