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Cells – How do they carry out the activities of life?

Organelles in animal and plant cells

This minds-on analysis and discussion activity begins with a video of an animal cell chasing and eating a bacterium. This introduces analyses of how different types of cells carry out the activities of life.

As part of these analyses, students learn about (1) the similarities and differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, (2) the functions of membrane-bound organelles in eukaryotic cells, (3) the relationship between structure and function for different types of animal cells, and (4) differences between plant and animal cells.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in distance learning and online instruction. (For additional instructions, see, especially item 7.) The Teacher Notes are available in the third and fourth attached files. The Teacher Notes provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. I am grateful to David Upegui, Central Falls High School, for generously agreeing to share a PowerPoint presentation to accompany a previous version of this activity (


Crawling Neutrophil Chasing a Bacterium

(This video is taken from a 16-mm movie made in the 1950s by the late David Rogers at Vanderbilt University.)   

cells SHO.docx3.91 MB
cells SH.pdf908.66 KB
cells TN.docx4.36 MB
cells TN.pdf1.02 MB


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Thank you!

Thank you for sharing these resources. They are very helpful. I was teaching physics for 9 years and suddenly find myself with 2 high school biology courses.

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Anatomy and Physiology with Pathophysiology

I am a Nurse by profession and chose to be in the academe. This was very helpful to me and I am grateful for your generosity in sharing these learning and instructional mats with us.

iwaldron's picture

Thank you!

I appreciate your kind comments.


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