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Ken-A-Vision Experiment 1

The study of animal and plant cells

Objectives: To compare the various parts and functions of the animal and plant cells.

Suggested materials:
· Yeast, dry package or cake
· Cork
· Onion skin
· Iodine staining solution
· Single-edge razor blades

· Flat toothpicks
· Algae samples
· Distilled water
· Microscope slides
· Cover slips

· Animal
· Cell membrane
· Cell wall
· Cytoplasm
· Nucleus

· Organelle
· Plant
· Protoplasm
· Sample
· Transparent


1. The activities offered are the most common, inexpensive and effective introductory ones used by science teachers; however; you are encouraged to modify them to your needs and own ideas.

a. In slicing cork, the sample has to be so thin that light passes through it. Razor blades are the least expensive way to enable students to slice off samples of cork. Instruct students on safety tips in using such sharp instruments. Have the students check the edges where the thinnest section usually exist. Water and a cover glass are not required, but could better keep the sample in place. The only part of the cell observed is the cell wall.

b. The nucleus of the onion cells readily appear with cheap iodine stain. (Available in most drug stores.)

c. In order to study yeast, first prepare a solution according to the package directions just before the lab begins or to observe cells with buds or bulges branching off from the primary cells, keep solutions in a warm place for several hours or up to two days. USE HIGH POWER OBJECTIVE FOR BEST RESULTS.

d. Students will scrape off epidermal cells from the inside of the cheek. These cells will be approximately the same size, but all irregular in shape.

e. Algae samples can be gathered in almost any long-standing body of sill water. Look for greenish organism/colonies in or on the water. Also commonly called "scum or moss."

f. The English scientist Robert Hooke is thought to have been the first to view a cell and gave it its name.


1. Take daily samples of yeast solution to observe the fluctuating numbers of yeast cells as environmental conditions change. It would be a study in variables affecting populations. You could change the amount of food (sugar), temperature, water, and light as well as using polluted water, distilled water, etc.

2. Invite an expert into the classroom to demonstrate or discuss the various aspects of yeast (which is a fungus), fungus, or cell study in general. Genetic researching, yeast infections, bread or wine making, and allergies to molds could be some of the topics.

3. Have students dig deep into their refrigerators and pull out the "grossest" examples of mold they can find. Bread mold is one of the favorites and can be easily grown by wrapping bread in wet paper towels within aluminum or plastic wrap, then placed in the dark for a few days. Looking at the spores at the tip of the growth on a slide or using a stereoscope produces many "awesome" comments.

4. Look at prepared slides of all types of cells such as blood, parasites, brain cells, etc. Local college or high school biology departments are usually willing to loan out slides and or provide information about cells in general for your students.

5. Have students make cells and their organelle using pizza parts, cookie or cake mixes, jello, clay, etc. Judging the results could include the ability of students to identify functions of each cell part.

6. Encourage original ideas for enrichment.

The study of plant and animal cells

Purpose: Understanding cell types, as well as the structures, and functions of cells.

Procedure: This is a real corker!

Study of cork cells.

a. From a cork sample, slice off a sliver so thing that light will pass through it.
b. Place it on a clean slide-focus on edge of sample.
c. Draw what you see in circle provided.
d. What is the only part of a cell you can observe? Why?
e. Who was Robert Hooke?

Procedure: This may bring tears to your eyes!

Study of onion cells

a. Obtain the thinnest (transparent) section of onion by breaking off one layer then breaking it apart to reveal the membrane left hanging. Lay a portion of the membrane on a slide. Add water or a drop of iodine, then a cover glass.

b. Focus on the dark spots.

c. What are the dark spots? What is their function?

d. Look for the cell walls. What is their general shape? What is the function of a cell wall?

e. Can you identify any other parts of a cell?

f. Compare the onion and cork cells.

g. If this is a plant cell, why isn't it green?

Procedure: Check the cheek!

Study of animal cells

a. Using a clean, flat toothpick, gently scrape the inside surface of your cheek with its flat edge.
b. Swirl it in a drop of distilled water on a clean microscope slide then add a drop of iodine and a cover glass.
c. Compare the shape and size of each cell.
d. What does the shape of each cell indicate about the presence of a cell wall? Explain.
e. Which organelles or specialized cell parts can you observe?
f. What are the functions of the various organelles?

Procedure: The fungus among us!

Study of yeast

a. Place a drop of yeast solution on a clean slide and top with a cover glass. b. Your teacher will explain how to use high power to see them.
c. Draw and label various cell parts observed.
d. Can you find yeast cells which have bulges or buds?
e. Try to find a cell which has a bulge or bud. What does this indicate about the type of reproductive process?
f. Look at the yeast solution.Why is it foamy?

Procedure: The scum of the Earth!

The study of algae
a. Place a sample of algae on a clean slide.
b. Add a drop of water and a cover glass.
c. What is the shape of the cell wall?
d. Can you find the nuclei?
e. Is this algae in a colony or is it made up of single-celled organisms?
How do you know?
f. Why are these cells green?