Vernier Science Education - June  2024


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Life Science

Cell organelles

Author Post
Michelle Sanders Michelle Sanders 540 Points

Do the cell membrane, cell wall, cytoplasm, and ribosomes of eukaryotic cells technically count as cell organelles? I'm trying to be "biologically" correct as I teach organelles to my 7th graders. Thanks in advance for your help! 

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

Hello Michelle- I have always taught that organelles are membrane-bound structures that serve a specific role and are found in the cytoplasm. I would not include the cell membrane, cell wall, or cytoplasm as organelles. Also, while ribosomes are not membrane bound, most lists you can find of cell organelles will include them. I have to admit that I always have.

Michelle Sanders Michelle Sanders 540 Points

Hi Cris! Thanks for the response. That makes a lot of sense to not name the cell wall, cell membrane, and cytoplasm as organelles. For my unit, I taught my kids that ribosomes aren't organelles since they don't have a membrane covering them. But you are right, I have found so many lists that have them as an organelle, so I thought I'd clarify what other people do. Thanks again though! On Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 10:43 AM, NSTA Learning Center wrote: >

Matt Stewart Matt Stewart 125 Points

I think this is one of those many instances in life science in which the definitions we use get a little fuzzy. I looked closer at the NGSS (MS-LS1-2 specifically) that deals with organelles and I noticed for the most part that the language there avoids the use of 'organelles'. For the most part they stay focused on the 'parts' of the cell and how their structure determines function of the parts or the whole cell.

Michelle Sanders Michelle Sanders 540 Points

Hey Matt! Thanks for the reply! That makes a lot of sense actually, because it really is a fuzzy definition. On Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 7:01 PM, NSTA Learning Center wrote: >

Ethan Schoenlein Ethan Schoenlein 510 Points

I completely agree the the overall ideas behind these terms (such as function and processes) are far more important than the specific definitions we attach to them. In the end, what our students will take away is not some definition they memorized, but the reasons we have that specific structure. Don't get lost in specifics. Focus more on the meaning of it all and how it all ties together.

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