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Homeschool Learning: Discovering The Cell

February 4th, 2013 | Posted by Angela Roberts in Homeschool | Lesson Ideas

This week the highlight of our home learning was discovering the cell.  I have been testing out the first few units of Science Odyssey.  Science Odyssey provides many learning ideas and opportunities that we are really enjoying.  After this week my children have a much better understanding of what a cell is and the difference between a plant and animal cell.  Our learning involved very little ‘bookwork’ it was a lot of hands on learning fun!

First we read a book about the cell,  ‘Enjoy Your Cells’.

Ava and Audrey watched this cell song over and over again….

Next, we grabbed an egg from the fridge and our zoomy microscope so that we could take a peak at a cell.

If you don’t have a zoomy microscope I highly recommend one.   You simply plug it into your computer and you can see the magnified image on your screen.  My kids love it!  (click on the image to learn more about the zoomy)

After looking at the egg with our microscope we headed outside to play a few egg games!

Egg toss!

Egg in the spoon race!

After our break Alex worked on labeling the parts of the cell on a worksheet like this from oldschool.com.

I decided that it was a great time to work on the naked egg experiment.  I have been wanting to perform this experiment for some time.  The naked egg experiment is easy and fun.  All you need is an egg, white vinegar, and a jar.  Place the egg into the jar and cover it with vinegar.  After only a few minutes you will see bubbles form on your egg.

Place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Take it out and you will see that the vinegar is dissolving the egg-shell.

This is because vinegar dissolves calcium and the egg-shell is made up of mostly calcium.  Carefully pour out the old vinegar and cover the egg with fresh vinegar.  Return it to the refrigerator for a week.  After a week you are left with the egg’s translucent membrane that protects the egg.  You are now able to see through the egg.

We all really enjoyed the naked egg experiment, I am sure that we will do this one again!

When we were finished learning about the cell using an egg we began to discuss the difference between plant and animal cells.  I started with this worksheet (you can print it here).

We headed to the kitchen to make our own edible animal and plant cells.  All you need is a 6 ounce pack of lightly colored Jello, green grapes, a strawberry, a square and rectangle dish.  Cook your Jello according to the package instructions.  Pour the hot Jello mixture into the two dishes, divided evenly.  Place the dishes in the refrigerator until it begins to set (don’t let it set all the way or the fruit won’t drop into the mold).  When the Jello is somewhat set have the kids place a strawberry in the round dish, or the animal cell, to represent the nucleus.  In the rectangle dish have them add a strawberry and  green grapes, I cut mine in half, to represent the chloroplasts.  Return the dishes to the refrigerator until the Jello finishes setting.

The kids and I discussed the difference between animal and plant cells over dinner.  When they were done eating they ate their ‘cells’ for dessert!

We had a very fun week learning about the cell.  If you have any cell learning activities that you would like to share please leave them in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy Tadpoles, Frogs, And Crickets: Learning About The Food Chain or Learning About Germs.

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