Cells Activities and Teaching Resources

Microscope Activities

Introduction to the Microscope – E Lab – explore how to use a light microscope (Letter E Slides)

Microscope Coloring – label and color the parts of the microscope

Label the Microscope – simple graphic to practice identifying microscope parts

Guide to Using the Light Microscope – step-by-step instructions on how to focus images and create wet mount slides.

Microscope Investigation for AP Biology – refresher on how to use a microscope and how to measure viewing field

Cheek Cell Lab –   observe cheek cells under the microscope

Observing Plant Cells  –  microscope observation of onion and elodea

Comparing Plant and Animal Cells – compare onion cells to human cheek cells

Investigation: What are the Different Types of Cells – survey of different kinds of cells, cheek, blood, onion root, leaf

Exploring Cells – follow in the footsteps of famous scientists like Hooke and Van Leeuwenhoek by looking at slides of cork, paramecium (animalcules) and typical plant and animal specimens.

Investigation: Banana Starch and Plastids – compare a ripe banana to a green banana by viewing plastids stained with iodine

Exploring Eukaryote and Prokaryote Cells – a comprehensive microscope lab that covers various types of cells like bacteria, plants, animals, and protozoa.

Why Are Cells So Small? – measure the surface area and volume of boxes as a cell model

Cell Size Experiment – use agar and a basic solution to illustrate how fast fluids can diffuse into a cell, dependent on cell size

Comparing Plant and Animal Cells – how are they alike, and how are they different?

Coloring and Labeling Activities

plant cell

Animal Cell Coloring – color a typical animal cell

Plant Cell Coloring – color a typical plant cell

Prokaryote Coloring – color a typical bacteria cell

Cell City Analogy – compares a cell to a city by describing what each part of the cell does

Internet Activity on Cells (Cells Alive) – view interactive cells at cellsalive.com; complete worksheet

Cell Model – create a cell from household and kitchen items, rubric included

Cell Rap – fun poem to describe the parts of the cell, sing to the tune of “Fresh Prince”

Practice Labeling the Cell and Endomembrane System – complex drawing showing plant and animal cells, and protein synthesis

Simple Cell Labeling – simple cell drawing compared to a 3d complex cell diagram

Amoeba Sisters Video – worksheet for short program that outlines the structures of the cell and their functions

Amoeba Coloring – a single celled protist that moves using pseudopodia

Paramecium Coloring – a single celled protist that moves using cilia

Euglena Coloring – a single celled protist that moves using flagella, and can be both autotrophic and heterotrophic

mitochondriaCell Readings and Data Analysis

Gaucher Disease – explores a lysosome storage disorder

Mitochondria and Energy Production – explores structure of the mitochondria and how ATP is harvested

Data Analysis of Mitochondria Function – explores oxidative damage resulting from a toxic exposure (AP Bio)

What Causes Mitochondrial Disease – CER that explores different types of mutations that results in nonfunctioning mitochondria

Mitochondrial Disorders – What Happens When Cells Don’t Get Enough Energy – read about a young girl diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder (causes and symptoms)

Infectious Disease Project – design an infographic exploring an infectious disease

cell divisionCell Reproduction

Mitosis in an Onion – view picture, identify the stages of mitosis in each of the cells

Cell Cycle Label – label a picture of the stages of mitosis, identify parts of the cell such as the centriole and spindle

Onion Root Tip Lab – view real cells with a microscope, requires lab equipment and prepared slides

Onion and Whitefish – view cells, if you missed the classroom lab; virtual version of the mitosis lab

Mitosis Internet Lesson  – view animations of mitosis; questions

Meiosis Study Guide –  a list of questions to consider when studying meiosis

Reinforcement: Meiosis – focus on vocabulary, such as gamete and zygote, diploid and haploid; label an image

Meiosis Internet Lesson -view animations and tutorials, with questions

Identify the Phases of Meiosis – descriptions of what occurs in each phase, label an image

Phases of Meiosis – describe what is happening in each phase (chart) and label the phases

Cell Cycle Cut and Paste – students arrange words and draw arrows to illustrate mitosis

Cancer: Out of Control Cells – article describing how the cell cycle relates to cancer, includes questions

Osmosis and Diffusion

Cell Membrane and Transport – student notes and Google slides (Bio 1)

Observe Diffusion in a Bag – model diffusion using a plastic baggie, iodine and a beaker.   This article explains what happens.

Story Lab – How Can Diffusion be Observed – based on the “diffusion in a bag” lab where students read a passage about diffusion

Investigation: The Effect of Salt on a Potato – simple lab where a potato is soaked in salt water.

Cell Membrane and Transport Coloring – shows the phospholipid bilayer and different types of transport

Transport Across the Cell Membrane – simple diagram shows how molecules enter the cell through diffusion, facilitated diffusion, and osmosis

Cell Membrane Images – work in groups to create captions and titles for images depicting the cell membrane and transport across it.

Investigation: Why Are Cells So Small? – use bromothymol blue and agar to model how diffusion occurs in cells

Case Study: Cystic Fibrosis – for AP Biology, examines the role of cell membrane proteins in clearing mucus from the lungs.

Observing Osmosis – use an egg, vinegar, corn syrup, will take a few days

Salt and Elodea – quick lab to observe the effects of salt water on elodea cells

Diffusion and Osmosis Crossword Puzzle – vocabulary review

Cell Transport Review Guide – with questions, definitions and images

Osmosis in Cells – AP Lab 1, modified, using dialysis tubes and sugar solutions to observe water movement

Water Potential and Molarity – measure the mass of carrots after soaking in different molarity solutions to determine the molarity of the carrot

Investigation – Cell Membrane Bubble Lab – model properties of the cell membrane with straws and a bubble solution

Cellular Respiration

Photosynthesis and Respiration Model – image shows the two processes are connected; students answer questions related to a graphic

Color the Mitochondrion – guides to the process of cellular respiration, with coloring!

Chemiosmosis Coloring – color the membrane and the steps involved in the production of ATP

Converting Light Energy into Chemical Energy – label of graphic of photosystems I and II

Cellular Respiration Graphic Organizer – map of the steps involved in cellular respiration (Key, TpT)

Cellular Respiration Data Analysis – interpret graphs showing rats of respiration

Observing Cellular Respiration – AP Biology Lab using peas and respirometers

Cellular Respiration Virtual Lab –  AP Lab that can be performed online at LabBench

Rate of Respiration Virtual Lab – use a simulator to show change in respiration of germinating seeds

Case Study:  The Cyanide Murders –  explores cellular respiration and why we need oxygen

Mouse Respiration CER – shows a graph of respiration rates at different temperatures


Plant Pigments – Use chromatography to observe plant pigments separate

Photosynthesis Simulation – this simulator uses light and varying levels of carbon dioxide to explore rates of photosynthesis, replaces the waterweed simulator

Photosynthesis Lab – AP Lab, uses spinach leaves and light to measure the rate of photosynthesis. Oxygen bubbles cause leaf disks to float when they are exposed to light.

Calvin Cycle (TED-Ed) – video worksheet with labeling and practice questions

Inquiry Investigation – what factors affect rate of transpiration – use leaves and evaporation to explore how plants take up water

Stomate and Leaf Investigation – view stomata under the microscope and determine density on upper and lower surface of the leaf

Investigate Photosynthesis with Vernier Probes – explore changes in oxygen levels in plants exposed to light

Use Phenol Red to Observe Photosynthesis – submerge water plants in a solution of phenol red, color change indicates changes in carbon dioxide in solution

Cell Metabolism and Biochemistry

Acids and Bases – basic coloring showing how water dissociates into ions, pH scale

Biomolecules Boxing – students make boxes showing the four biomolecules of life and use the boxes to practice structure and functions

Enzyme Lab – use liver to show how catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water, bubbling is used to measure the reaction at different temperatures.

Elements Found in Living Things – a simple coloring exercise that shows the percentage of the elements in organisms (CHNOPS)

Analyzing Graphics – Enzymes – shows substrates and enzyme interactions and explores competitive inhibition

Observe Catalase Activity in Yeast – create sodium alginate spheres to observe how catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide

Enzyme Activity Using Toothpickase – simulate the activity of an enzyme by breaking toothpicks.

Organic Compounds – concept map, students fill in terms related to organic chemistry (carbohydrates, nucleotides..etc