BrainPOP, Cells, a Foldable and a Plea...

We are beginning our study of life science this week.  Segueing from physical science, I introduced the concept of cells being the building blocks of life, similar to atoms being the basic chemical make up of everything.  We talked about how cells are basically little bodies in and of themselves and how they need the same 4 things that all multicellular organisms need:  food, water, gas exchange, and waste disposal.

From there, things got *really* dry and boring....so I thought a little BrainPOP could remedy the situation.  We began with a movie on cells themselves.  This mentioned that there were two basic types of cells (animal and plant) and that they did some different, but basically the same, things.  The second video was on cell specialization.  That laid out the differences a bit more.

I then gave the kids a piece of white paper, which we folded in half, cut a little space off the top, and slits in the open side to form 8 doors.  On each of the doors, the students drew one of the different types of cells we looked at.  On the inside, they identified the cell and wrote a teeny bit about its function.  And that is it! I just wanted them to get a little bit of reference for the idea that cells don't all look the same or have the same function, but ARE alive and ARE similar when it comes to basic needs.



I plan to keep these and pull them out when we study the body systems, as all the cells are the same as those systems we will be studying.  It should become a handy reference for the kids during this unit....or at least that is the hope.

Do you have some really fun activity you do for a life science unit about the way living organisms function?  I would love to hear about it.  I am coming up empty right about now (my brain is on overload!) The only thing I do have is a "create an animal cell/plant cell" project...but I want something else!  Anyone have anything???

18 comments

  1. I like to have them write a narrative about taking a journey inside of a cell. They must "visit" each organelle in the cell and decribe what they do there or what the function of each organelle is. They come up with some crazy stories, but understand the functions much better.

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    1. What a great idea! I will have to try that one out :)

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  2. Seems like a great lesson!! Wish I could offer you some insight but Science is just not my thing :) seems like you're doing a fab job on your own :)

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

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    1. This 5th grade science is killing me! So much content, so little time to learn it!

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  3. My youngest is in 5th grade. They did the traditional 3-D model of a cell. Of course she was set on creating two models...one plant and one animal. Haha! Love your foldable!

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  4. Your blog has won the “Lovely Blog” award. Stop by my blog to pick up your prize!

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  5. Have you tried having your students create edible cells? Students use a graham cracker and sugar cookies (graham cracker for plant cell and the sugar cookie for animal cell). Spread icing on top to represent cytoplasm. Use a Hershey kiss as the nucleus, jelly beans for the vacuoles (green jelly beans for the chloroplast in the plant cell and a Twizzlers for the cell wall of the plant cell. The students really enjoy this lesson!
    Enjoy,
    Jason

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  6. I am impressed with your correct spelling of segueing. I had no idea how to spell that!

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  7. Hi Stephanie,
    I just found your blog and love it. I stumbled across it thru Kaitlin @ Beyond Teaching. If you have time, stop by my blog. I'm a newbie at blogging and would love some feedback.
    Barb
    itsabouttimeteachers.blogspot.com

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  8. I'm not sure how in depth you go but this podcast of an interview with a cell is really great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIGmfdEQMnE It has music mixed in to explain the functions of the organelles. I like to have a visual for them to look at while it's playing. Adding drama is always fun too. In groups they can act out their own "interview" and each person in the group can be a different organelle or each group can represent a certain organelle and tell what their "job" is. Have them research to prepare to be interviewed by you or their classmates. The edible cells are fun. We made cell "pops" using white chocolate as our base by spreading out the melted chocolate on foil adding a stick and candy organelles. The kids enjoyed it! Did you see all the applications to be an elf around Christmas time? What if they had to fill out an application to be a certain organelle? Sorry for the ramble...I love brainstorming! Can't wait to see what you do! You always have such great ideas. Love the foldable - I'm totally pinning that!
    Bethany

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  9. Wish I could give you some ideas, but I'm not teaching science until next year! 5th and 6th grade science!! I love your blog!

    Shannon
    http://www.6thgradescottforesmanreadingstreetresources.wordpress.com

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  10. This year when we did cells, we let the kids create their own cell models. They could use whatever they wanted to, but it had to be portable, so they could bring it to school. I had a few create things out of food, one even cut a section out of a small melon and put things into it. Others created cells out of wood, foam, and other household materials. We did this because our county mandated that we can only use prepared foods to do activities with the kids. We used to make jell-o cells with big & small zip bags, we use other items like grapes and other fruits to add in the organelles and then the kids could eat their cells at snack time. It was a fun, engaging activity.

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  11. I think I'm going to use Jason's idea for the edible cells next year! This year, I used cake. I made 2 vanilla cakes and split the class in half. The girls worked together to create a plant cell cake using icing, gel icing and sprinkles and the boys made the animal cell. The kids loved it, but to avoid the mess and having to cut the cake, I think I'll use the cookie & graham cracker idea next time!

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  12. What did you use on each 8 "doors"? I love your idea! I am a first year teacher in 5th grade and would love to use this for my cell unit!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I realize that you wrote this post 2 years ago, but I'm hoping that you might remember what the 8 different cells were that you used. I can tell there is a nerve, muscle, and red blood cells, but nothing more than that. Love this idea!

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  15. What is the name of the videos did you use foldable?
    Thanks for the great idea.

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