An introduction to the differences between the two main types of cells – plant cells and animal cells – and to the functions of cell organelles. It is ideal to use with KS3 science students.
The first activity is a starter to remind students of some different parts of a cell. Students then use microscopes to draw and label a plant cell diagram and an animal cell diagram, writing a sentence to describe the function of each organelle. They then compare plant cells and animal cells, considering how the differences in cell structure relate to the different functions – the presence of chlorophyll in plant cells for the production of energy, of a vacuole to store cell sap and of a cellulose cell wall to strengthen the cell.
There is a worksheet which can be used to summarise the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells and the functions of parts of the cell. The resource can be used with key stage 3 students or as revision and review with key stage 4 students.
The answers to the plenary gap-filling activity:
Animal cells have the following parts:
- a nucleus which controls the activities of the cell
- cytoplasm in which most of the chemical reactions take place
- a cell membrane which controls the passage of substances in and out of the cell
- mitochondria, where most energy is released in respiration
- ribosomes, which is where proteins are made.
Plant cells also have a cell wall which strengthens the cell.
Plant cells often have:
- chloroplasts which absorb light energy to make food
- a vacuole filled with cell sap.
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