Build a Jello Cell

Overview

Students will explore the structure of a cell while creating a jello cell model! 

Experiment Length

4 hours to prep the jello
25 minutes to do the experiment

day 7

materials

*The various fruits/candies can be anything available around your house! These are just suggestions! 

  • Water

  • Spoon

  • Stove Pot 

  • Bowl

  • Gelatin, or Jell-o mix (preferably lighter colored like lemon)

  • Microwave, or stove

  • Small plastic bag - Recommended: 1 gallon Ziploc 

  • Refrigerator

  • Various Fruits - Recommended: plum, raisins, grapes, strawberries, dried fruit, etc. 

  • Various Candies - Recommended: gummy worms (sour and plain), gumdrops, gumballs, jelly beans, sprinkles, M&Ms, hard candy, etc.

  • Print Out (OPTIONAL) 

steps
  1. Put water into a pot, and heat the water until it reaches a boil. Using only about ¾ of the water called for in the Jell-o/Gelatin instructions, pour the boiling water into a bowl. 

  2. Combine the Jell-o or Gelatin mix with the water. Using a spoon, stir the mixture completely until the Jell-o has dissolved. 

  3. Place an open plastic bag into a sturdy container (like a bowl or pot) to make pouring the Jell-o easier. Slowly pour the Jell-o mixture into the bag, leaving a fair amount of room for the components added later.

  4. Seal the bag completely, and place the bag in the refrigerator. 

  5. Remove the Jell-o/Gelatin from the refrigerator after one-two hours, or when the Jell-o/Gelatin is almost set. 

  6. Begin adding the cell components to the Jell-o/Gelatin. Each cell component can be represented by either candy or fruit. If wanted, you can print out/look at this coloring sheet, so you can keep track of all the cell parts! 

  7. Once all the cell components are in the bag, reseal the bag and place it back into the refrigerator until the Gelatin/Jell-o is fully set.

  8. When the Gelatin/Jell-o is fully set, you can examine your 3D Gelatin and eat it!

the science

All organisms, or all living things, are made of cells. The cell, the basic structural and functional units of every organism, is the simplest collection of matter that can be alive. Some organisms are single-celled organisms, meaning they are made of one cell, whereas other organisms are multicellular, or made up of many cells. There are two distinct types of cells: prokaryotic and eukaryotic. Today, we will focus on eukaryotic cells, but more specifically, an animal cell. Fungi, protists, animals, plants, and humans all consist of eukaryotic cells. Inside eukaryotic cells are organelles, several membrane-enclosed structures with specialized functions.

 

Here are some of the organelles are their functions: ​

  • Plasma Membrane: Membrane that encloses a cell

  • Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum: A membrane factory for the cell, has ribosomes surrounding it

  • Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum: Makes fats and stores calcium

  • Mitochondria: Makes energy

  • Lysosome: Breaks down large molecules into small molecules

  • Nucleolus: Contains rRNA

  • Nucleus: Contains genes or DNA

  • Centriole: Helps cells divide, or make copies of themselves

  • Ribosome: Makes proteins 

  • Golgi Apparatus: Warehouse for receiving, sorting, shipping, and manufacturing cell products 

  • Cytoplasm: Jelly-like material inside the cell

Taking it further

Research the organelles of plant cells, and compare them to the organelles found in animal cells! Can you make a Jell-o plant cell?


Research prokaryotic cells. How can an organism be made up of only one cell? 


Upload/send your coloring sheet to the Curieus website/email to show off your work! 


Still confused about the animal cell and its organelles? Watch this video! 

Inspired by EnchantedLearning.com

Special thanks to Honor Pimentel for the Spanish translation

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