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Amazing Cells

From the structure and function of organelles to communication on a molecular level, these materials explore the inner-most workings of cells in a dynamic and realistic way. Integrate the Print-and-Go activities below with the online activities available in the Amazing Cells section on Learn.Genetics to provide a good picture of what a cell does during its "resting phase."

Inside A Cell Worksheet

An optional fill-in-the-blank table to use in conjunction with the Inside A Cell interactive activity on Learn.Genetics.

Students navigate the inside of a cell to see the organelles in action and learn their function. An answer key is provided.

Learning Objectives
  • Cells have internal parts, each with a specific function.
  • The interior of a cell is a dynamic and busy environment.
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Build-A-Membrane

Cut, fold, and paste biomolecules to create a three-dimensional cell membrane with embedded proteins.

Learning Objectives
  • Membranes have proteins embedded in them.
  • Membrane-embedded proteins allow cellular signals and other molecules to pass through the membrane.
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Coffee to Carbon

Students use copy-and-cut cards to place biological structures in order by their relative size from largest to smallest. Great for use as a formative assessment or anticipatory set.

Learning Objectives
  • Understand the relative size of microscopic biological structures.
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An Example of Cell Communication

The Fight or Flight Response 3-D movie is a close look at some of the cell signaling and responses that take place throughout the body during the fight or flight response. The dynamic ways in which cells communicate with each other through molecular signals is depicted without focusing on anatomy, vocabulary or chemistry.

Two companion pieces describe events taking place in the movie, each with a different degree of detail. The Cells Communicate Movie Play-by-Play (Download this printable below) is a detailed scene-by-scene explanation of the molecular interactions taking place in the movie. Use this as background information, as a reference, or as a guide during the movie for higher-level students. How Cells Communicate During the Fight or Flight Response is a closer look at what happens during the fight or flight response using the organs, cells, and chemical messengers depicted in the movie. Great for students who would like a deeper understanding of cell communication during the stress response, but do not need to know it at a molecular level.

Learning Objectives
  • Cell communication is a multi-step process.
  • Cells communicate via signaling pathways made of interacting components.
  • Components of cell signaling pathways sometimes change shape as a result of their interaction (conformational change).
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Pathways With Friends

Directed by instructional cards, students kinesthetically model cell communication by acting as components in a cell signaling pathway.

Learning Objectives
  • Cell communication is a multi-step process.
  • Cells communicate via signaling pathways made of interacting components.
  • Components of cell signaling pathways sometimes change shape as a result of their interaction (conformational change).
Download Print-and Go (PDF)

Dropping Signals Worksheet

An optional fill-in-the-blank table to use in conjunction with the interactive Dropping Signals activity. Students drag several types of signals to various cell types and record the cell's response. An answer key is provided.

Learning Objectives
  • There are different types of cells, and different types of signals.
  • Cells respond differently to signals depending on cell and signal type.
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When Cells Don't Communicate

Students research and prepare a report on diseases that are the result of problems in cell communication.

Learning Objectives
  • Problems with cell communication can result in disease.
  • Problems in cell communication occur at the molecular level.
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Dealing Signals

Use standard playing cards with your students to introduce cellular interactions such as cell to cell recognition and signal and receptor specificity.

Learning Objectives
  • Trans-membrane proteins help cells recognize other cells of the same type.
  • Some foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria mimic cell to cell recognition mechanisms. This allows them access to healthy cells.
  • Molecular receptors in the cell membrane interact with specific signals.
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FUNDING

Funding for this project was provided by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

SEPA