Comparing Plant and Animal Cells

Problem: How are plant and animal cells alike? How are they different?

Procedure: In this lab, you will view cells from your cheek (animal cells) and cells from elodea, which is a water plant. Careful observation should reveal similarities and differences between the cells.

Cheek Cells

Gently scrape a toothpick over the inside of your cheek and swirl it in a drop of methylene blue to stain the cells (otherwise they will be clear and difficult to see). You are looking for light colored blobs with dark spots in them. Perfect circles with black outlines are airbubbles. Don't sketch those. Sketch the cheek, making sure that you are drawing your cells to SCALE - that is, the size of your drawing should reflect the size that you view them in the microscope.

On the high power drawing, identify the NUCLEUS, CELL MEMBRANE, and CYTOPLASM.

Elodea Cells

Cut a small peice of elodea leaf and prepare a wet mount. When you are looking for cells, you should find a lot more than you found with the cheek cells, and it will resemble a green brick wall. The nucleus of these cells will not be visible but you should see many chloroplasts within each cell. Plant cells also have a rigid cell wall, outside the cell membrane.

On the high power drawing, identify the CHLOROPLASTS, CELL WALL, CYTOPLASM, and CENTRAL VACUOLE.

Analysis - Venn Diagram

Create a Venn Diagram of plant and animal cells. Remember, things that they have in common go into the overlapping area, things that are different go in the non-overlapping area.

venn diagram