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Diffusion and Cell Size and Shape

This analysis and discussion activity helps students understand that cell size is limited by the very slow rate of diffusion over any substantial distance and the insufficient surface-area-to-volume ratio for larger cells.  In addition, students calculate why these problems do not apply to long slender cells or parts of cells (e.g. the axons of neurons that extend from your spinal cord to your foot).

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes.

celldiffusionSHO.docx28.43 KB
celldiffusionTN.docx61.25 KB


ralph's picture

cell shapes and thier functions

can anyone give me examples of cell functions acorrding to thier shapes..i need them ..thank you..

iwaldron's picture

Cell shape and function

Some examples of the relationship between cell shape and function are discussed in the activity "Structure and Function of Cells, Organs and Organ Systems", available at /exchange/bioactivities/SFCellOrgan. Other examples include neurons and different types of epithelial cells in animals and guard cells around stomata in plant leaves.

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