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6th Grade Science / Lesson 3 - Cell Parts

Cell Parts
What will we be learning today?


  • In this lesson, we are going to learn all about what is inside a cell


  • What makes a water lily different from a parrot? Are they alike?


  • You might say they are different because one is a plant and the other an animal. What makes all plants and animals different?


  • How are they alike? One thing they have in common is that all plants and animals are made up of cells. Do you think they have the same kinds of cells?


What Is Inside Cells?


  • All cells have smaller parts inside. Do you think all cells have the same kinds of parts? Animals have many different kinds of cells in their bodies. What parts do these different kinds of animal cells have in common? The answer to this question is shown in the diagram. The earliest microscopes showed the outer edge of a cell clearly.


Cell Parts


  • As microscopes improved, they showed that cells have small parts. Each part has a special function.

  • All cells have an outer covering, called a cell membrane, that gives the cell shape and helps control materials that move in and out of the cell.


  • The largest, most visible part of the cell, the nucleus (plural, nuclei), is separated from the cytoplasm by its own membrane. The nucleus is the control center of the cell. It directs the cell's activities.


  • Long strands called chromosomes can be found in the nucleus. They are like blueprints of the cell. They store directions for cell activities. They transfer the directions to the next generation of cells.


    • Cytoplasm , the gel-like substance inside the cell membrane, contains a large amount of water. Most of the cell's life processes take place within the cytoplasm. It also contains chemicals and other cell structures that carry out special jobs for the cell. Scientists found that different structures within the cytoplasm have different functions.


  • Rod-shaped structures, called mitochondria (singular, mitochondrion), are often referred to as the "powerhouses" of the cell. They package and secrete materials containing energy, which can be used by the cell.


    • As researchers learn and understand more about the structure and function of the cell, we gain more knowledge about how these tiny factories work together in the complex organ systems of plants and animals.

    • Vacuoles are sac-like storage spaces in cells. They store anything, from wastes (prior to removal) to food.



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