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The cell is the basic unit of life. Cells perform all functions necessary to maintain life. In essence, anything you can do, a single cell should also be able to carry out, including movement, respiration, metabolism, digestion, synthesis, and reproduction. Remember that cell structure is different between animals and plants. In this exercise, students will do the following:

  1. Choose either a plant or an animal cell to depict.
  2. Think of an analogy to describe the function and structure of the cell. For example, we can relate the layout of a small city or town to various functions of the cell.
  3. City hall is the headquarters (nucleus) of the city. It is here that all plans and information for the administration and activities of the city are generated and disseminated to the other parts of the city (i.e., the organelles of the cell).
  4. Create a diagram of the analogy and describe the workings of all major components. A key or reference notes describing how your structure relates to that of the cell must be included.

Students can be creative (e.g., draw a picture, make a flowchart, make a table, give a PowerPoint presentation, upload an image of a 3-D model, etc.).

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Be sure to include at least the following organelles in your analogy:

  1. Nucleus
  2. Mitochondria/chloroplasts (if choosing a plant cell)
  3. Lysosomes/vacuoles (if choosing a plant cell)
  4. Endoplasmic reticulum, both smooth and rough (include the function of the ribosomes)
  5. Cell membrane/cell wall (if choosing a plant cell)
  6. Cytoplasm
  7. Golgi apparatus
  8. Cytoskeleton

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

Refer to the “Anatomy of a Cell Grading Criteria.”