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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edible Cell Lesson

       Here is my first attempt at posting one of my teaching ideas. This lesson was for my 6th grade class as a wrap up activity after learning about animal and plant cells. My students often need a more visual and hands on approach to understand and remember concepts, therefore I decided making and labeling edible cells would be a fun culminating activity for everyone. 

      Initially, I spent a while at Dollar Tree, Target, Fred Meyer and Albertson's picking out just the right candy and dried foods to represent each of the different organelles. Here are some pictures of what I came up with, along with a little chant they learned about each organelle. 

For the cell membrane/wall, I found small round plastic containers at the Dollar Tree, 5/ $1.00. They worked perfectly! Holla for the dolla! (1 per student)

To represent the nuclear wall/nucleus of our cells we used dried apricots. They were perfect because they weren't perfectly shaped and you could see a nuclear membrane and nucleus inside. (1 per student)

Vacuoles were represented by none other than Gobstoppers! (2 per student)

 Each student was to take five raisins as the mitochondria. Their wrinkly shape was perfect. (I have to admit this was a student suggestion, aren't kids so smart?!) 

  Cut up and folded sections of Fruit by the Foot were used to create the golgi body. The Fruit by the Foot was perfect because you could tear them into pre-perferrated strips and then the students folded them. Genius! 

Nerds of course were used to represent the ribosomes. About 20 per student were necessary, some to be freely floating and some to attach to the rough ER.

The smooth endoplasmic reticulum was represented by a "smooth" (non-sour) gummy worm. 

    The rough endoplasmic reticulum was a little more challenging, but I ended up using sour fruit wedges, and then had the students push the nerds into them. (1 fruit slice per student) 

  Finally, I used orange jello to represent the cytoplasm. Each student used about 1/4-1/2 a cup of jello to fill their container. 

 I was able to set this all up on my back counter and had students collect their supplies in little Dixie cups as they went along. They had to repeat the chant at each station to help them verbally remember what each organelle does. 

Students then made labels with half a label and a tooth pick. (We saved these for day 2 of the lesson, after the cells had set.)

Here is a finished product before we set them in the refrigerator. 

After 24 hours in the refrigerator, we took them out and the students then had to label them and check their labels with a partner. Once they agreed that each had the organelles labeled correctly, and could describe their purpose (also an ELD lesson) the cells were theirs to take home. Although these cells are edible, they didn't look appetizing to me. But I did however hear from many students they took them home to eat. Can't beat that, feeding their brains and their stomachs! 

Good luck with this lesson if you attempt it. Leave me a comment with any questions or feedback. :)



  1. Could you please email me the chants :) I would love to do this with my students!

    1. I'm sorry I'm just now seeing this! I don't know why comments aren't being emailed me to me. Unfortunately I lost the chants when the district changed my last name and my U drive at school. I will see what I can dig up!

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