How can plant cells be modeled for a children's project?


Quick Answer

Representations of plant cells can be made using plastic baggies, a suspension fluid-like syrup and a range of self-selected objects to represent the cell parts or organelles. In a classroom setting, working in pairs is advised because the process can be messy.

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How can plant cells be modeled for a children's project?
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Full Answer

This project is suitable for biology students in Grades 6-8. It requires the following materials:

  • Two resealable plastic zipper bags per pair (for the cell membrane)
  • A wide selection of small objects chosen for their different shapes and colors, such as buttons, pasta, pipe cleaners and beads (for the cell parts or organelles)
  • One cup of Karo syrup, oil or clear detergent (to represent the cytoplasm)

The objects to represent the cell parts or organelles may be selected by the teacher and laid out for the students to choose from or else brought by the students from home. These cell parts are placed into the baggie first followed by the suspension fluid or cytoplasm (whether syrup, oil or detergent), which should be poured from a spout by one student while the other holds the bag. It should then be sealed.

A fun alternative to this project is to create an edible plant cell in the form of a pizza. Having rolled out some refrigerated pizza dough into a rectangle, the following ingredients may be applied:

  • Pizza sauce (for the cytoplasm)
  • Something large and round, such as a slice of eggplant, for the nucleus
  • Any small but colorful ingredient, such as chopped herbs, scattered around the cell for ribosomes
  • Olives for mitochondria
  • Peppers or pineapples for Golgi bodies
  • Sliced mushrooms or peppers, some smooth, some rough, for endoplasmic reticulum with and without ribosomes
  • Either an empty space or something imaginative for the vacuole
  • Anything green for the chloroplasts
  • Either a herb or cheesy crust to represent the membrane and cell wall
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