Edible Cell

Other Biology lessons: Insect Survival, Evolution and Homeostasis Jeopardy, Evolution and Homeostasis Bingo, and Energy and Reproduction Jeopardy

  • Subject Area: Biology
  • Age or Grade: Sophomores
  • Estimated Length: 80 minutes
  • Prerequisite knowledge/skills: Students have learned about the different organelles of a cell.
  • Description of New Content: Review structure/function of the organelles of a cell and compare plant and animal cells using an edible model.
  • Goals: Students will build models of cells using various food items to represent each organelle. Students will explain why they chose each food item and write the function of each organelle on the worksheet.
  • Materials Needed:
    • materials list
    • worksheet
    • picture of animal and plant cell
    • organelle notes
  • Procedure:
    • Opener:
      1. Introduce activity by showing a square and round pie crust. Ask the students what kind of cell each crust should represent.
    • Development:
      1. Tell students to take out their pictures of plant and animal cells as well as their notes on the structure/function of the organelles.
      2. Place students into groups of 2 so that one gets a plant cell and the other gets an animal cell. This way, students can work together on their food choices and see how their partner's cell looks different from their own. Give each student a piece of saran wrap for their working space (and to wrap their completed cells) and then give them a square or round pie crust.
      3. Pass out the Edible Cell Worksheet. Explain the activity by giving students applesauce to spread on their pie crusts and ask them what organelle it represents. Students should realize the applesauce is "jelly-like" and should be the cytoplasm. Tell them to write down applesauce on their worksheets for cytoplasm.
      4. Show the students the various food stations and the list of foods on the board. Students are allowed to take a few of each kind of food and decide which organelle each food type will represent (the cookie makes a good nucleus, the Twizzlers make a good cell membrane, but not cell wall) and explain why they chose that food type (should be related to structure/function of that organelle). There is a lot of flexibility and creativity allowed!
      5. Students must show the teacher the completed (and correct) edible cells.
    • Closure:
      1. Students took a quiz on the structure/function of the cell organelles before they were allowed to eat it.
  • Evaluation: Students took a quiz on the structure/function of the cell organelles.
  • Extensions: Ask students what a prokaryote cell would look like. Have students write down (or make if you have the time and materials) what food they would use to make a model of a prokaryotic cell (which has no membrane-bound organelles, but does have things like a cell wall and cytoplasm).