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Parts of a Cell

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Gabriela Sanchez Gabriela Sanchez 865 Points

Hello everyone, I am tring to help a group of students learn the parts of a cell. However, it is difficult for them to remember all the parts. I am not sure what the best way is for them to master the concepts. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Jennifer Toy Jennifer Toy 715 Points

I recently was just told about a fun activity for vocabulary, which I think can apply to learning the functions/names to the different parts of a cell. This activity is called "Word Pyramid" but obviously you can change the name if you'd like. It almost reminds me of taboo if you have ever played that game before. You have students work in pairs, student 1 is given a card with a word pyramid (you can even just display the pyramid on a google slide if you'd like), and student 2 is not allowed to see the word pyramid but they have to try and guess the term the based on the descriptions that student 1 is saying. Student 1 is not allowed to say the term in anyway (no rhyming or giving away any part of the word). Once they guess the correct term, the pair gets to move onto the next row on the pyramid. Maybe the first 5 pairs to complete the entire pyramid can recieve some sort of reward (candy, bonus points, etc). I thought it was a great idea for any type of vocabulary or terms students have to learn. 

Jacob Nichols Jacob Nichols 55 Points

Hello Gabriela,

I know that this response may be late but I would like to be able to help anyone in the future that may be running into a similar issue!

Because of the specific nature of each part of a cell, memorization is really the easiest way of doing it without overcomplicating things. One of the best ways to teach parts of cells to students is to do one of two things depending on how your classroom is set up. One way is to play a Jeopardy-style game where they will be given the "answer" to the function of an organelle and they have to remember what organelle does the described function. To make this easier, they could be allowed to use a "cheat sheet" for $100 and $200 questions. Adding this accommodation may encourage students to practice more so they can get more points, but will also allow students who struggle to be involved in the class.

The second method you could use is splitting the class into two teams, plants and animals (or even more if you are wanting to include fungi, bacteria, etc.). These teams would each have to create an argument as to why their cell is better. The twist, however, would be that they could only base their argument on the organelles present in their cells. They would, of course, realize that most of the organelle are the same or very similar but if these students are the competitive types this realization would be a form of encouragement to research these cells to try to find a discernable difference.

These are only some ideas but I hope they can help!


Madison Taylor Madison Taylor 905 Points

I'm a visual learner, so the easiest way for me to remember anything is to draw it out. Have the students create their our cells out of construction paper and label it like a diagram!

Kimberly Miles Kimberly Miles 5558 Points

Hi Gabriela,

 This is a great question. As a preservice teacher learning science and about to approach the same topic, can you tell me what you ended up doing and how it went? What did you do that worked and did not? I have a group of 5th graders who will only have me for one lesson so discovering what they know beforehand will be a challenge.  This is also in a low SES where we do not have access to multiple microscopes in the classroom or a large amount of on-hand supplies. 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Maria Kern Maria Kern 35 Points

I love the word pyramid listed above.

My first year of teaching, I printed off cell diagrams, plant on one side and animal cell on the other. After laminating the print outs, I made velcro labels to label the cells. It was time comsuming then, but I have used them every year now for 12 years. 

Another option would be an assignment I like to call "Cell"ular Communication. Students have to write a script of a conversation that would occur amongst the organelles. 

Last, we make a drawing relating the cell to a city. Each organelle is assigned a job that they have to do well. For example, the mitochondria might be considered a power plant or a Monster energy drink. The E.R. is like the pizza delivery boy bring piping hot proteins to where they are needed in the cell. Analogies that relate to their world help. 

Brittany Alao Brittany Alao 580 Points

Youtube has some great songs that will help the students learn cell parts. They are catchy and the kids will enjoy learning the song. I like this one in particular. The Cell Song

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