The invisibly small world of the cell comes to life as students look at plant and animal cells through a microscope. Students create wet-mount slides of onion skin, elodea leaf, and human cheek cells. They learn some of the gross differences between plant and animal cells (cell walls are present in plant but not in animal cells), and even some of the differences between different plant cells (chloroplasts are found in the leaves but not in the roots). It is suggested that this lesson take place after students learn the parts of a cell and their functions. Resources for good cell diagrams are provided in the Sources section. This lesson may be used in conjunction with the Pond Water activity for students to get a sense of the diversity of microscopic life, both single celled and multi-celled.
Can name and describe the function of certain plant and animal cell organelles.
Can identify whether a cell viewed through a microscope if plant or animal.
Can draw and label a picture of plant and animal cells.
Can recognize that all living things are made of cells.
Can begin to recognize the huge variations in cell size, shape, structure, and function.
Can operate a compound light microscope.
Can make simple wet-mount slides.
Cytoplasm or cytosol