Learning Exercise

Cell Model

Students will make an edible, 3-D model of an animal or plant cell. The various organelles of the cell are represented by fruit and candy. This activity meets standard 1 (7th grade science): All living organisms are composed of cells. Students should understand that cells are the basic units of structure and information in living things and all living cells come only from other living cells.

Website for the Science & Mathematics Education Center of Fresno State University see more


Materials needed: * Gelatin, either a light-colored Jello (like lemon) or unflavored gelatin with sugar or juice added *Water *Spoon (to stir the gelatin) *Microwave or stove (used to heat the water) *A small but sturdy plastic bag to make the gelatin in (we used 1-gallon ziplock bags) *Various fruits and candies used to represent the parts of the cell: raisins, gummy worms (plain and sour), gumdrops, gum ball, jelly beans, grapes, mandarin orange sections, sprinkles, M&M's, jaw breakers, a small stone fruit (like a plum), dried fruit, and/or hard candy. Note: marshmallows will float on top of the gelatin, so they don't work well in this craft. *Refrigerator (used to set the gelatin) Saftey: Maintain as sterile conditions as possible. Wash your hands before you begin, also wash the table. Place a large piece of wax paper on the table. Procedure: 1. Decide if you are making a plant or animal cell. 2. Teacher will pour 1/2 cup of jello into your membrane (plastic bag). 3. Place your organelles in the bag. Make a list of materials (food) that you will use for the different organelles. 4. Make a drawing of your jello cell and identify all of the parts. Identify the cell as a plant or animal.


Technical Notes

Teacher should have materials at each station ready for students at beginning of class since this project is timely. Enough time should be given at the end of class so that students can have time to clean up.


Students should have a basic understanding of the cell theory and the organelles function which comprise each cell. This activity will implement the students understanding of cell organelles and function.



Learning Objectives

Meets Standard 1: All living organisms are composed of cells, from just one to many trillions, whose details usually are visible only through a microscope. As a basis for understanding this concept: Students should understand that cells function similarly in all living organisms. Students should also gain an understanding of the different characteristics that distinguish plant cells from animal cells, including chloroplasts and cell walls.