Title of Lesson / Activity: An Edible Cell (2nd six weeks)
5.5A describe some cycles, structures, and processes that are found in
a simple system
5.5B describe some interactions that occur in a simple system.
5.6A identify events and describe changes that occur on a regular basis
such as in daily, weekly, lunar, and seasonal cycles
5.9A compare the adaptive characteristics of species that improve their
ability to survive and reproduce in an ecosystem
5.9B analyze and describe adaptive characteristics that result in an
organism's unique niche in an ecosystem
5.9C predict some adaptive characteristics required for survival and
reproduction by an organism in an ecosystem
How do cells keep us alive? Through reading and hands-on activities,
students learn about parts of a cell, and their functions in carrying out
processes for life. Study skills are taught and modeled as students make
entries in science notebooks.
Time Required: Possible 2 days depending on class
One coffee filter
One tablespoon of coffee
One twist tie
One clear glass bowl (about 2 quart size)
Peanut butter cookie dough (one tube serves 24 students)
Vanilla pudding (one-half cup per group of 5 students)
Candy kiss (one per student)
M&Ms (one red, blue, yellow, brown, and green per student)
Transparency of the graphic, Parts of a Cell and Life Processes
Copies and transparency of the article, Our Amazing Cells,
(one copy per student plus the demonstration transparency)
Transparency of the model outlines
Vocabulary and definitions cards (one set per group of 5 students)
Vocabulary written on sentence strips
1. Locate one coffee filter.
2. Locate one tablespoon of coffee.
3. Locate one twist tie.
4. Locate one clear glass bowl (about 2 quart size). Fill with clear water.
An Edible Cell (2 nd six weeks) cont.
This may need to be hot water, depending on the time available for the
5. Purchase one tube of peanut butter cookie dough. One tube serves 24
students. The night before the activity, form the cookies into nests and
bake. Using the peanut butter dough, no flour is needed to roll the
dough in your hands. One tablespoon of dough is about the right size.
After rolling the dough in a ball, make a nest in the dough with your
thumb. Bake as directed, however, about half way through the baking,
remove the cookies and with a teaspoon, mash the nest back into the
cookies. When the cookies are finished baking, use the teaspoon to
mash the nest back into the cookies one last time. Make enough
cookie nests for each student and one for you to be used as a model.
When cooled, box to transport to school. A trustworthy parent
volunteer or room mother can accomplish the preparation of these
6. Purchase and prepare one half cup of vanilla pudding per group of 5
students. This can be commercially prepared or home made.
7. Purchase candy kisses or any similar size piece of candy. You need
one per student.
8. Purchase and separate M&Ms. Each student needs one red, blue,
yellow, brown, and green M&M.
9. Make a transparency of the graphic “Cells and Life Processes” from the
10. Duplicate the article “Our Amazing Cells”, for each student. One
transparency must also be made of the article.
11. Make a transparency of the model outlines.
12. Duplicate the vocabulary and definitions cards. Make one set per
group of five students.
13. Write the vocabulary words for the day's reading on the board or chart.
1. Review any previous information about cells. Be sure to have student
use their science notebooks as a reference as you ask questions about
previous activities in science, reading in the content area, and writing
in their science notebooks. Specifically, be sure to ask questions about
cells; how we know they are there (see with a microscope), what they
do for our bodies (take in food and oxygen and let out waste to keep
our bodies alive and working properly). Be sure that students
understand that every living thing is made up of cells. Different parts of
our bodies have different kinds of cells. Cells must be kept alive for our
bodies to stay alive. Oral feedback, both affirmative, "Great, you
remember that all living things are made of cells." and corrective,
"Oops, you know that muscles are made from muscle cells. What do
you think bones are made of?" should be given.
An Edible Cell (2 nd six weeks) cont.
2. Before students read the article, a study of the pronunciation of
vocabulary words should be done.
* Write these vocabulary words on the board or chart: dioxide, urea,
membrane, cytoplasm, organelles, and nucleus. Use the dictionary as
a source for finding the pronunciation of these vocabulary words. The
words and pronunciations should remain written on the board for
student reference while reading the article. Since comprehension of
these vocabulary words should be gained from reading the article, no
definition study should be done at this time.
3. As a reading activity, students silently read the article, “Our Amazing
Cells”. Before reading, alert students that they are reading for a
purpose. Today’s purpose is to discover the main idea of the article
and to find at least three supporting facts for this main idea. Pass out
individual copies of the article, “Our Amazing Cells”, and display a
large projection of the article using the overhead. Allow about five
minutes for students to read the article.
* As students are reading, orally praise any students who have gotten
out a piece of paper and are making notes. After students have
completed the reading, ask various comprehension questions
concerning the article. Be sure to ask about the main idea and
supporting facts as well as explicit and implicit information (list of those
kinds of questions is attached in this file) gathered from the article. An
in depth study will be made of explicit and implicit questions later in the
unit; however this may be an appropriate time to begin explaining the
difference in explicit and implicit.
4. One of the ideas that students often have problems understanding is
how the food, oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, and urea enter and exit
the cells through the membranes. This demonstration is a visual
explanation for students.
* Display a coffee filter. Place one-half teaspoon coffee inside the filter.
Explain to students that the coffee filter will serve as our membrane,
and the coffee inside will serve as our cytoplasm and all organelles.
Make a closed membrane by using a twist-tie to seal the coffee inside
the filter. Demonstrate that the membrane (filter) keeps all the
cytoplasm and organelles (coffee) inside the cell. Refer to the
paragraph, Our Amazing Cells, which states that food, water, and
oxygen are carried to the cells, and urea and carbon dioxide are
carried away from our cells by our blood.
* A bowl of clear water will serve as our food, water, and oxygen rich
blood. To demonstrate the action, place the cell (filter with coffee) into
the blood stream (bowl of water). Because the pressure from the water
outside the cell is stronger than the pressure of no liquid inside the cell,
the water penetrates the membrane bringing food, oxygen and water to
the cell. Lift the cell (filter of coffee) out of the blood stream (bowl of
An Edible Cell (2 nd six weeks) cont.
water). Since the pressure inside the cell is now greater than the
pressure outside the cell, students will notice the cell waste of carbon
dioxide and urea (coffee) being removed from the cell (filter) and
passing back into the blood stream (bowl of water).
* For a slower version of this same principle, just let the cell (filter) sit in
the blood stream (bowl of water) and eventually the water will turn
noticeably browner. Using hot water for the blood stream will speed up
5. Remind students of how they organize the science information in their
science notebooks (outline, paragraph, and illustration).
* Request that students tell you if the information is a main idea, fact or
a supporting detail and where it should go on the outline. Students
complete their outlines while the teacher is modeling. Make any editing
changes that may be necessary in order to receive that excellent rating
for today’s outline. Be sure to explain why these changes need to be
made. It is important for the teacher to model this editing procedure, so
as the days of the unit progress, be sure to make some errors in your
outline model so that an opportunity arises that editing is necessary.
6. Display the transparency of the graphic, Parts of a Cell and Life
Processes. Using the information from the article, “Our Amazing
Cells”, discuss the various parts of the cell and their functions. This
transparency should remain displayed as a reference for students
during the next several activities.
7. Building a Cell –
* This is a group activity. Divide the class into groups with not more
than five members in each group. Groups select a student to perform
each of these jobs:
1. Gather materials
3. Distribute materials within the group
4. Distribute items outside the group
5. Clean up
Distribute a set of vocabulary words and definitions for the parts of a
cell (membrane, cytoplasm, organelles, nutrition, waste, urea, oxygen,
and nucleus) to each group. Have the groups use the graphic
transparency, Parts of a Cell, to match the vocabulary words with the
correct definition. Allow about three minutes, and then ask for oral
definitions to the vocabulary word you recite. Place each vocabulary
word and its definition, written on sentence strip. . This is an
opportunity for a formative assessment and feedback. Remember to
give both corrective and affirmative feedback* Each group needs these
supplies for each member of the group: one baked cookie dough nest
(membrane), one half cup vanilla pudding (cytoplasm), one candy kiss
(nucleus), one green M&M (food), one blue M&M (water), one yellow
An Edible Cell (2 nd six weeks) cont.
M&M (oxygen), one red M&M (carbon dioxide), one brown M&M (urea).
* Read the following narrative as the students listen and follow directions.
“We know that cells are the building blocks of all living things. We know
that to stay healthy, cells take in food, water, and oxygen and give off
carbon dioxide and urea. We know the vocabulary for the parts of a cell.
Now, let’s put all our knowledge to work as we build a model of a cell.
The membrane is the outer layer of the cell that holds all the parts of the
cell together. The membrane for our cell is the cookie. Pass out the
cookies so that each person in the group has a membrane for the cell.
The thick liquid inside the cell that contains the water and food and
helps protect the other parts of the cell is the cytoplasm. For our cells,
the cytoplasm is the vanilla pudding. Each cell needs one teaspoon of
cytoplasm placed in the center of the cell. The nucleus is the largest
organelle. It controls all the cell activity. For our cell, the nucleus is the
candy kiss. Place one candy kiss in the center of the cytoplasm. To stay
alive, each cell must have water, food, and oxygen. We will be using the
M&Ms to stand for these. Place one blue M&M (water), one yellow M&M
(oxygen) and one green M&M (food) together on one side of the
nucleus to represent the organelles that house the food, water, and
oxygen. A cell must get rid of the waste, carbon dioxide and urea, that is
created when the cell uses the food, water, and oxygen. Place one red
(urea) and one brown (carbon dioxide) M&M together on the opposite
side of the nucleus from the water, food, and oxygen to represent the
organelles that house the urea and carbon dioxide. Placing the
organelles (M&Ms) in this way represents that as food, water, and
oxygen enters the cell, urea and carbon dioxide exit the cell.”
See the attached picture for how “cell” will look when finished.
8. As the students are cleaning up and eating their cells (the cytoplasm
begins to dissolve the membranes of the M&Ms and the cookie
becomes soggy if not eaten within 15 or 20 minutes), conduct a
formative assessment on the parts of a cell, their functions and how
the cells carry out the processes needed for life (nutrients in and waste
out). This feedback should be given as the teacher circulates asking
questions about the cells parts and functions
9. Now that students have read about cells, written an outline of the
information, seen a demonstration of how nutrients pass into and
waste passes out of the cell membranes, learned cell vocabulary, and
made a model of the cell, they should be ready to complete a written
assignment. First, demonstrate, using the overhead how to write a
paragraph about the new science knowledge learned today. The
paragraph should contain notes about factual information, as well as
comments and observations about what has been learned through
today’s activities. After your modeling is complete, allow about 15
An Edible Cell (2nd six weeks) cont.
minutes for students to complete their writings. Students may need to
complete their paragraphs on the back of the outline. As they are
writing, circulate around the room and give formative feedback to
10. The final activity for today is the illustration. The purpose of the
illustration is to organize information for a variety of purposes . Use the
overhead as your media, model drawing an illustration of the parts of
the cell, labeling each part. Today’s illustration should also contain a
simple drawing of how cells receive nutrients and expel waste. After
modeling and discussing your illustrations, allow students about ten
minutes to complete their illustrations in their science notebooks. It is
important to do the paragraph writing before the illustration since
students may use excessive time on the illustration and not keep their
focus on the modeling of the writing. Doing the writing first helps
students remain focused.
1. Assessment has been done in four parts: Reading and answering
questions, outlining the process, modeling the process before writing
about it, and finally writing a paragraph about the process. Each part
can be graded separately, or as a whole.
Rosemary Abila email@example.com
Gail Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Example of Edible Cell
Parts of a Cell
Cell Vocabulary Cards
Duplicate one set of cards for each group of students. Cut the vocabulary words and
definitions into individual cards. Students then match the word with its definition.
The basic unit of all
The clear jellylike
Cytoplasm material that is inside
the cell membrane
The outer covering of
The largest organelle in
Nucleus a cell - controls the
Organelles in the cytoplasm that
hold parts of the cell
Waste Not usable
Waste produced by the
Urea body cells as they use
Reading in the content area.
Our Amazing Cells
Every part of the body is made of cells. Although each kind of
cell has a different size and shape, they are alike in many ways. All
cells need food, water, and oxygen to stay alive. As we eat, drink,
and breathe our bodies get what they need. Then, our blood carries
the food, water, and oxygen to the cells through our arteries. Food
and water enter our bodies when we eat and drink. Our body
systems break the food down until only the tiny useful part is left.
Then the food and water pass into our blood where they are carried
by our arteries to every living cell in our body. Oxygen enters our
bodies when we breathe. Our blood goes to our lungs, picks up the
oxygen, and takes it to all the living cells of our bodies.
All living cells make waste. This waste is carbon dioxide and
urea. As the cells use the oxygen, carbon dioxide is left. Our blood
carries carbon dioxide away from living cells through our veins. Urea
is the waste made by our cells as they use the food and water. Urea
is carried away from our cells by blood flowing through our veins.
All living cells have many of the same parts. The outside wall is
the membrane that holds the cell together. The thick liquid inside the
cell is the cytoplasm. It holds all the other parts of the cell in place as
well as holding oxygen, food, and water. Organelles are the separate
compartments in the cytoplasm that hold the parts of the cell. The
largest organelle in each cell is the nucleus that controls everything
inside the cell.
Human body cells are alike in many ways. They need food,
water, and oxygen to stay alive. They make carbon dioxide and urea
as waste. They are made up of many of the same parts. Cells are
the building blocks that keep our bodies alive. Our cells are truly
Examples of questions pertaining to the article, Our Amazing Cells
1. What is the main idea of the entire writing?
2. Look at only the third paragraph. What is the main idea of that
3. Which sentence in the last paragraph tells the main idea of the writing?
1. What do cells need to stay alive?
2. The sentence, “As the cells use oxygen, carbon dioxide is left.” is a
detail supporting what fact?
3. How do the food, water, and oxygen get into our cells?
1. Does it hurt when you cut your fingernails? Why?
2. What are veins and arteries?
3. What would happen to a cell if the nucleus was not there?
Example of an outline
Our Amazing Cells
Different – size and shape
Transported by blood through arteries
Transported by blood through veins