Art For Cell

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SWBAT identify the structure and function of eukaryotic cell organelles through the creation of an illustrated model.

Big Idea

Time for your inner-artist to shine! Students will learn all about cell organelles and design a colorful model to represent their understanding of how all of the parts work together to reach homeostasis.

Video Introduction: Making Cell Models

1 minutes

This video introduction introduces the NGSS standards that will be addressed in this lesson and emphasizes the importance of scaffolding curriculum to ensure students have a strong foundation of understanding of the structures in a cell before progressing to cell functions. 

Hook - Collaborative Cell Brain Dump

8 minutes

Students will get out a sheet of paper and title it "Brain Dump: Cells".  Students are encouraged to write down everything thy know about cells, their organelles, and their function. Encourage students to record their facts in bullet points and be creative with their ideas. Prompt students to see if they have had any expreineces will illnesses, injuries, or overall health where cellular function was mentioned.  Students will also activate prior knowledge from their middle school Life Science class to include as many details as possible.

After 1-2 minutes of individual brainstorming, students will turn to their neighbors to share their "brain dump" lists and add any additional facts that the student pairs can brainstorm.

After 2-3 minutes of collaborative work, student pairs will combine to make groups of four and repeat the pair-sharing process  to create a group master list.

Each group will select a spokesperson to share their most interesting fact with the class.  Students in the class will add new facts to their personal list as they are shared by their peers.  The teacher will provide supplemental information to student responses and clarify any statements that may be inaccurate to prevent confusion among the students.  

Having students share their prior knowledge or experiences is a great strategy to empower students to inform each other and be a catalyst for interest in the new topic that is being shared in the lesson.

Direct Instruction - Conceptualizing Cells

32 minutes

Students will get out a sheet of paper and title it, "Lecture Notes: Cell Structures and Functions".  The Lecture Notes go into great detail regarding the cell organelles and the role of each structure to maintain homeostasis in the cell.  Both plant and animal cells will be reviewed and students are encouraged to transcribe the information on the slides that are supplemental to the information in the course textbook.  

In an effort to keep student work organized, students are provided the option to use the Cell Organelle Organizational Chart to record the details about each of the cell organelles that are covered in this lecture.  The chart will also serve as an easy to read study guide for future assessments.

By the end of this activity, students will need to be able to compare and contrast plant and animal cells using a Venn diagram graphic organizer to identify structures that are found in both types of cells, as well as the structures that are unique to each type of cell. 

Students will be asked to draw a complete cell with all the organelles later in the lesson, but it is still recommended students draw a quick sketch of each individual organelle so students begin to conceptualize how the individual parts coordinate to enable the cell to function.

Guided Practice - Art For Cell

10 minutes

Students will use the information from the lecture notes and the images from the class textbook to create a detailed drawing that depicts the individual organelles that are present throughout the cell.  This activity is an opportunity for your student-artists to shine!  Students are provided colored pencils to enhance their illustration and make the organelles easier to identify and review during study sessions.   

By developing a student-designed cell model, students are to visualize how the structures (organelles) coordinate their functions to maintain homeostasis. 

Sample of Student Work #1: This artifact demonstrates attention to scientific detail and the commitment to cross-curricular work through artistic expression.  Also take notice of how the colorful illustration highlights the various structures of the cell and makes it easier for the students to conceptualize how each organelle will work together to accomplish the necessary cell functions.

Sample of Student Work #2:  This artifact displays an exemplary attention to detail, but does not incorporate color into the project.  The black and white illustrated model is not as effective in supporting student learning because it is more difficult to differentiate each organelle.  Students are strongly encouraged to color their illustrated models to improve their understanding of cell structures before the class progresses to studying cell functions.


Close - The Cellular Blue Ribbon Goes To . . .

5 minutes

As a closing activity, students will refer to their lecture notes and illustrated models to develop an opinion statement that claims which organelle is most important in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Students need to cite facts about the cells structure and function to defend their responses.  The student opinion pieces will be read during a future lesson and debated as time allows.

Students may not have time to complete their fact-based opinion statements during the class period and will need to complete this portion of the lesson as homework.

Most Important Organelle - Student Response #1  And the winner is . . . Mitochondria.  It was surprising for this student to make the claim that the mitochondria was the most important organelle to maintain homeostasis within the cell, but her evidence that backed it up was accurate and appreciated!

Most Important Organelle - Student Response #2 - This student went with the most obvious response, the nucleus.  Students were instructed to use the information provided in this lesson to make their claim and provide supporting evidence to defend their decision.  Students knew that there was no right or wrong answer, rather this was an opportunity to reflect on their learning.

Most Important Organelle - Student Response #3 - This student was did not commit to any of the organelles and stated that all of the organelles are equally important to ensure cellular function . . . and she was correct!