The most popular examples of 3D animal cell models include plastic displays sold by online retailers, and do-it-yourself model projects using common household items. The instructions for several DIY cell model projects are available online, and most of the models incorporate kitchen supplies such as gelatin, storage bags and food items, and craft supplies such as Styrofoam, paint and modeling clay.
The Internet4Classrooms website offers a list of links to numerous do-it-yourself 3D animal cell model projects that use a variety of household, kitchen and craft ingredients.The most important aspect of a DIY cell model is that the student understands the different parts and organelles within a cell. The shapes and functions of these structures can help the student choose which ingredients to represent each piece. For example, one of the DIY projects featured on Internet4Classrooms.com uses a Ziploc bag as the cell membrane, corn syrup as the cytoplasm, and candy and cereal as the organelles of the cell.
Both store-bought and homemade 3D animal cell models provide science students with a visual and tactile understanding of the animal cell and its many components. Some DIY projects even use clear gelatin as the cytoplasm to give a realistic view of the floating organelles in a cheap, edible and educational model. However, those who want a more durable and professional cell model can visit a number of online retailers that sell 3D animal and plant cell models, such as the plastic cell anatomy models sold by Amazon.com.