7th Graders Build Stellar Cells

Science students created models of cells using random items from around the house.

Every year 7th grade science students at Longfellow do something magical. They make visible something that can’t be seen. 

“The intended learning is bringing something that is microscopic, that we don’t really see with our naked eyes, into the real world,” said science teacher Shelby Hill.

The project is to build a model of a plant or animal cell out of household items and present it to classmates. 

“Students can understand the parts and the functions of the cell, so what’s going on inside of that cell in order to understand themselves,” Ms. Hill said.

 These cells turn out to be creative and colorful and, according to a few students,  take about 1-4 hours to make. Elizabeth Schinstock, another 7th grade science teacher, said her favorite part of the project is seeing all the creativity her students use. She was particularly impressed with Gia A’s project.  Gia used her embroidery skills to create her cell.

Gia used the embroidery hoop to form the shape of the cell, then captured the different elements with different colors of embroidery thread. Gia enjoyed the whole project because she loves to embroider. “I actually really liked doing it; it’s one of the only projects that I decided to just do instead of waiting for the last second.”

Ms. Hill was blown away by Jiwoo L’s project. Jiwoo’s project was a styrofoam ball with clay, felt, and her favorite part, threads for the cell organelles. While she enjoyed making them, labeling all the functions of those organelles was the hardest part. 

 Of course, that is what the teachers want students to focus on. 

“We are looking for [whether] the students understand what a cell does—the organelles in the cell, their jobs, the shapes—did they understand the difference between a plant and animal cell,” Ms. Schinstock explained.