Cells and organ systems
The list provides a range of activities, lesson ideas, background information, practical tips and suggested teaching strategies for looking at cells, tissues and organ systems at KS3.
The resources in this list support lesson planning for the following areas of the curriculum:
• cells as the fundamental unit of living organisms, including how to observe, interpret and record cell structure using a light microscope
• the functions of the cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, vacuole, mitochondria and chloroplasts
• the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
• the role of diffusion in the movement of materials in and between cells
• the structural adaptations of some unicellular organisms
• the hierarchical organisation of multicellular organisms: from cells to tissues to organs to systems to organisms.
Visit the secondary science webpage to access all lists: www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/secondaryscience
Links and Resources
This resource provides ideas for developing a sequence of 'good enough' cell models to explore how cells can form tissues and organs.
Modelling a simple animal and plant cell can be done as a demonstration intitially, discussing what each part of the model represents and relating it to what can be seen under the microscope so that when students view their own slides of cells they are better prepared to understand what they are looking at. You can project the view of a cell under a microscope onto a whiteboard using a webcam.
Students can then create their own models of simple and specialised cells. When modelling cells, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the model can draw out misconceptions. For example, having viewed cells as images or under a microscope, students can easily believe that they are two-dimensional.
Carefully planned group work with explicit aims can encourage students to relate structure to function, extending the activity to allow connections to be made between between the practical work and scientific ideas.
The cards in activity 5 (page 20) of this resource can be used to extend students' observations of euglena by considering whether euglena are plant or animal cells.
Students evaluate their own observations and the evidence presented on the cards to support their point of view about euglena. Since some of the evidence can be ambiguous and could indicate that euglena is both an animal cell and a plant cell (e.g. it moves and it has chlorophyll), the activity provides an opportunity to generate cognitive conflict for students.
Seeing cells as living things which require food and oxygen can lead nicely into thinking about why larger organisms have organ systems.
This resource is aimed at higher ability students in Year 7.
Activity 1 shows how a unicellular organism (an amoeba) requires energy to survive and that it obtains this energy through nutrition and respiration.
Activity 2 applies this information to cells deep in the human body and helps students understand how they are able to survive. Pupils will explore the roles of the heart, the gut, the lungs and blood circulation in ensuring cell survival.
This game is a great way to recap and reinforce vocabulary and meanings within the topic. There ae 50 individual bingo cards which can be laminated and reused.