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Unit: Cell Structure and Function

Science 10
Unit Description
In this unit, students will complete lab activities and cooperative projects that investigate the structure and
function of animal and plant cells. A variety of options will be available for communicating their knowledge.
This investigation should take 5 7 class periods. The UDL approach in this unit provides the following:
Varied strategies and presentational options to make information accessible to all students
Choices for demonstration of learning to address a variety of learning styles
Motivational options to engage students

Proscribed Learning Outcomes: Life Science: Cells and Systems
It is expected that students will:
B1 demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of living things
B2 relate the main features and properties of cells to their functions
B3 explain the relationship between cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems
B4 explain the functioning of the immune system, and the roles of the primary, secondary, and tertiary
defense systems

Lesson Overview
Title: What is Life? Day 1 2
Author: Karen Jones
Subject: Science 10
Grade Level: 8 10
Prerequisite knowledge
How to use a microscope to focus on objects under
medium and high power
How to make a slide using a coverslip

BC Science 10 p. 10
Lesson Description
Students in the role of alien scientists will explore a
variety of cell types found in samples taken from
Earth. In groups, they will compile a list of features
that characterize life on Earth from their observations.
Achievement Indicators
Students who have fully met the prescribed learning
outcome are able to:
Identify various characteristics of living things
(e.g., require energy, respond to the environment,
perform gas exchange, excrete waste, reproduce)
Accurately list similarities and differences between
cell types (plant and animal)
Recognize similarities between cells using a
1. Anticipatory Set: The Mercury Amoeba
Put the petri dish on the overhead, keeping it
covered with a ring of construction paper around
its diameter.
Elicit students about their ideas of life on other
planets and record them on the overhead below the
dish. How could they tell if something was alive?
Challenge the students whether the mystery
beast possesses characteristics of life by applying
drops of acid, crystals of potassium dichromate,
and prodding with the nail, giving time for
comments between each.
End with having the students in groups at their
tables decide whether they think the mystery
o Petri dish with a drop of mercury
o Crystals of potassium dichromate
o Sharp clean nail
o 1 M sulphuric acid

o Handout #1: Hypothesis: Living or not?

Key Vocabulary:
Respiration, excretion, reproduction, responding,
moving, consuming

beast was alive, supporting their hypothesis with

2. Guided Practice: What is Life?
Distribute handout #2 to each student
Show a YouTube video of pond water with a
variety of organisms. Tell the students that they
will form teams of alien scientists whose job it is
to observe a variety of samples taken from Earth
and compile a list of features that characterize life.
Model the task by drawing one of the organisms
from the video and making a list of its structures
and behaviour.

3. Independent Practice in groups of 3
Pre-requisite: microscope skills
Group students who have used microscopes with
those who have not.
Groups will decide on a name for their alien
research facility.
Each group member will observe a minimum of 3
life forms from the variety of samples under the
microscope on medium or high power, draw the
life form, and add to a list of structures and
behaviour (if using pond water).

o Handout #2: Microscope observations: What is
Life?Video: Life in a Drop of Water
o Or Pond Life Under the Microscope

o Microscopes
o Samples of pond and ditch water from a variety of
o Prepared slides of micro-organisms
o Website: How to make a pond water slide or
o Handout #3: How to Make a Wet Mount
Each group will hand in their individual
observations together with a compilation of
characteristics of life under the microscope
o Handout #4 Characteristics of Life
Accomodations For Diversity
Provide Youtube videos to observe on iPad or computer instead of using microscope to observe slides.
Provide an electronic version of BC Science 10.
Provide access to Kurzweil 3000 in resource room during Rebeccas study block with e-text installed.
Photocopy group responses to distribute to group members.
Have Special Educational Assistant (SEA) work with Rebecca to make flashcards on iPad or computer for
lesson vocabulary.

Cast, Inc. (2006). Explore a model lesson plan. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education. (2006). Science grade 8: Integrated resource package 2006. Retrieved from

University of Melbourne. (). Mercury Amoeba 1. Retrieved from

Group Names: ________________________________________

Handout #1: Living or Not?

Watch the demo of the mystery beast. In
groups, decide if it possesses
characteristics of life and support your
answers with reasons.

Alive or Not?:

Reasons (At least 1 per group member)

Name: ______________________________ Group: __________________________________
Handout #2: What Is Life

Each group member will observe a minimum of 3 life forms from the
variety of samples under the microscope on medium or high power,
draw the life form, and add to a list of structures and behaviour (if using
pond water). Use pencil for your drawings and be as detailed as

Drawing of Slide Description & Behaviour

Source of sample:

Source of sample:

Drawing of Slide Description & Behaviour

Source of sample:

Source of sample:

Source of sample:

Handout #3:


Wet mounts are commonly used in the science of Biology. This is an
important skill to develop in order to be able to study specimens with a
Microscope. This skill is only developed with practice and by following
precise instructions.

Preparing a Wet Mount:

1. Put one drop of water on the slide. (Using a water dropper)

2. Place an object on the slide. (using tweezers to pick up and place
the object)

3. Lower the cover glass slowly to avoid air pockets, pull the
tweezers out.

4. After placing the cover glass, the excess water should be absorbed
with paper.

5. Place your prepared wet mount on the stage of the microscope

Proceed to student directed activities sheet.

Name of Alien Research Facility: ________________________
Group Names: _____________________________________

Handout #4: Characteristics of Life

Neatly write or type and print out a summary of your findings in this
investigation. Does this planet Earth contain life, and if so, what are the
characteristics that you have found in your samples?