Jesse Wade Robinson
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What is Life? A Cell Investigation Project
What does it mean to be alive? Where did life come from? What is life made of?
Students creating microscope slides

In this project you will investigate these provocative questions in detail. We will begin this project by examining theories for the origin of life on earth. Then we will search for different types of living organisms. Finally we will study the smallest units of life, cells. You will then become an expert on the cells of a particular eukaryotic organism of your choice. At the end of your investigation, you will create several scientific drawings of the cell samples that you collected.


PART 1: You will study samples of different types of cells under the microscope. You will become comfortable using the microscope, making slides, and drawing accurate representations of what you see. Due Friday 8/31 (21 points)

PART 2: After discussing the possible eukaryotes that you could study with your friends and family, you will choose a eukaryote that you are interested in. (I recommend plants and animals). Due Wednesday 9/5 (9 points)

PART 3: You will take samples of this organism. You will then make 2 or more microscope slides from your samples. YOU MAY NOT HARM ANIMALS TO TAKE SAMPLES! We will discuss proper sampling methods in class. Due Monday 9/10 (10 points)

PART4: You will then create two scientific drawings of your cells IN PENCIL. Due Wednesday 9/12 (10 points)

PART 5: You will create a “stylized” drawing of your cell IN PENCIL. In this drawing you will magnify your cell and label the organelles that you see in your cell. You will create a typed key that names each organelle in the cell and describes each function.  Due Friday 9/14 (25 points)

PART 6: You will choose to investigate one organelle/structure of the cell in more detail. You will find this organelle’s chemical composition (Is it a fat, protein, sugar, or nucleic acid?) You will draw an enlarged picture of the organelle and show the macromolecules, and atoms that compose these macromolecules. You will create a “stylized” drawing of the structure of the cell that you studied in detail. Due Tuesday 9/18 (15 points)

PART 7: Rough Draft of Poster of Cell. Due Wednesday 9/19 (10 points)

Final Draft with revisions Due Tuesday 9/25 (30 points)

Extension: Create a professional slide of your sample of the cell. Due Wednesday 9/26
(10 points)

sample of student cell poster

Above is a sample of student work