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Biology: Life Systems–cells

Subject:

Science  

Grades:

4, 5, 6, 7  

Standards:

  • NCES—Life Science Standards levels 5-8—Structure and Function in Living Systems (National Academy of Sciences [NAS], 1996)
  • GPS: S7L2—Students will describe the structure and function of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.
    • b) Relate cell structures (cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, and mitochondria) to basic cell functions (Cox, 2007).

Objectives:

  • Academic: Students will be able to identify all the main structures and functions of an animal cell.
  • Language: Students will be able to understand and define all age-appropriate vocabulary related to the structure and function of an animal cell.

Materials:

  • Student Provided:
    • Model making materials (students may decide what to use—some suggestions are modeling clay of varying colors, shoe boxes, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc.)
    • Paper/Notebooks
    • Pencils/pens/colored pencils/markers/crayons
  • Teacher Provided:
    • Vocabulary lists for each student
    • Any materials needed for lecture i.e.: slides, power point, etc.

Vocabulary List: Can be used to help ELLs to stay in touch with the vocabulary that will be used during this lesson

  1. Cell- Basic unit of structure and function in living things
  2. Organelles- structures within a cell
  3. Cell Membrane- Thin structure that surrounds a cell
  4. Nucleus- Control center of a cell
  5. Cytoplasm- Gel-like substance inside the cell where most of the cell’s activities take place
  6. Mitochondria- Structure that releases energy for the cell
  7. Eukaryote- a cell that has a nucleus (plant and animal cells)
  8. DNA- Large molecule contained in chromosomes
  9. Diffusion- Movement of material from an area where molecules are crowded to an area where they are less crowded
  10. Osmosis- Movement of water through a membrane
  11. Passive transport- Movement of materials through a membrane without the use of energy
  12. Active transport- Movement of materials through a membrane using energy

(Hunt, 2008)

Engage:

  • Pre-test: Give students a pre-test that will gauge their knowledge of the basic structure and function of an animal cell.
    • This is a formative assessment that will help the teacher understand where students are in their knowledge of basic cell structure and function as well as will help teachers to know which students will need help in the areas of ELL achievement and special needs achievement.
    • The use of pre-tests will also lend a structure to the classroom instruction that will greatly help ADHD students.

Explore:

  • Research: Students may decide to use either the internet (if available) or books to discover everything they can about the structure and function of animal cells.  They will create/fill in a vocabulary list of words they will need to know or do not know.  Students will also use their research time to discover what they can about the scientists connected to the discovery of the cell.
    • These activities will appeal to those students who are visual learners as well as discreetly giving the impression that the different cultures represented in the classroom are important because the cultures of the connected scientists are important.
    • If necessary due to any time constraints or any other factors, the research can be done in groups, which will also differentiate the instruction so that students who enjoy working in groups will have that opportunity.  Also, the teacher may give the students the choice to work in groups or alone.
    • These activities are also a type of formative assessment in that, based on student research methods, the teacher can see if the students are heading in the right direction for the assignment to be a success.

Explain:

  • Lecture/Class Discussion: Teachers should show slides/pictures of cell structure and the entire class should participate in answering any questions about cell structure and function.  Also, the information on the scientists who are connected with the discovery of the cell should be included in the discussion.
    • This activity will appeal to the auditory learners as well as give any ELLs in the classroom the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

Elaborate:

  • Model Making: Students will use their chosen model making materials to create models of an animal cell.  If the lesson on plant cells precedes this lesson, the students may decide to make either a plant or animal cell (this may be decided by the teacher).
    • This activity will appeal to the kinesthetic learners.
    • If necessary due to any time constraints or any other factors, the models can be made by groups, which will also differentiate the instruction so that students who enjoy working in groups will have that opportunity.  Also, the teacher may give the students the choice to work in groups or alone.
    • This activity can also be considered an authentic assessment.
    • If possible, teachers should observe the students’ work during this time as a formative assessment.
    • If necessary, this can be homework in which case it will also be an informal assessment.

Evaluate:

  • Post-Test: This test is a formal evaluation that can be a copy of the pre-test with any extra questions/evaluations thrown in that may be needed based on the informal evaluations done throughout the lesson.
    • The use of a post-test after each lesson will also lend structure to classroom instruction to help ADHD students.
  • Journal: This is an informal assessment that can be done as homework.  Have the students write in journals that will be used throughout the year for the same purpose as it is used for in this lesson.  They should write about what they find fascinating about cells.  Each student should come up with something new they would like to know and find the answer to that something.  Students should do an annotated biography (some bullet-pointed information) about a scientist from their same culture/background that is related to the subject.
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