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Lesson Title: Cytoskeletons and Cell membranes

State Standards: GLEs/GSEs LS1-1a

Students will demonstrate an understanding by explaining the relationships between and amongst

the specialized structures of the cell and their functions (e.g. transport of materials, energy

transfer, protein building, waste disposal, information feedback, and even movement).

Context of Lesson:

In this lesson, we will be exploring the mosaic nature of the cellular membrane and the

implications it has on the properties of a cell. We will also explore the roles of a cytoskeleton

including both the microtubules and microfilaments in the cell. The lesson will end with an

introduction to the applications of polarity in transport.

Opportunities to Learn:

Depth of Knowledge

The lesson will begin with level 2 where students are applying what they know and have learned

about cells to formulate conclusions. The students will need to use this information to deduct

that some kind of skeleton is involved in the structure of a cell. Students will need to predict

what will happen with oil and water while this is level 1, they will need to make predictions of

what kinds of molecules will need a pump for homework. Such predictions are level three, as

they will need to use their knowledge of polarity and apply it to an unknown outcome.
Prerequisite Knowledge

The students will need to understand that polarity effects behavior in the way that oil and water

do not mix. Students will also need to understand that uniform patterns do not occur at random

but are driven by either internal or external processes.

Plans for Differentiating Instruction

I will use students who are likely to need an energy release to act out the roles of microtubules

and microfilaments

Accommodations and modifications

Students with learning disabilities will receive a handout. This handout has the beginnings of

three important facts about microtubules and microfilaments to help guide their responses. This

will allow an appropriate tool to be used in modifying the student’s learning. To continue

working on organization skills and ensure that homework is completed, I will check and sign the

student’s planner.

Environmental factors

There are windows outside and a large aquarium which could potentially distract students on one

side of the room



-Laptop with slides for Lesson 3
-Students will need their books

-Handouts on microtubules and microfilaments

-Handouts on microtubules and microfilaments (modified)


-Slides for the microscopes


• Students will fill out a sheet with three important facts about microtubules and


• Students with disabilities will finish modified sheet about microtubules and


• For homework, students will demonstrate an understanding of polarity.


The students will have three slides (two pre-made and a blank). The pre-made slides are

of a bacterial cell and an animal cell. The students will use the blank slide to observe the

structures of a plant cell. I will show the students how to slice an onion and stain the sample to

get a usable slide. This will be the first class where students need to make their own slides

during my unit. I will need to review safety procedures as well as any possible hazards of
handling slides. Once the students are familiar with all aspects of the lab’s safety procedures, I

will begin the lab. The students will need to identify and sketch any two organelles per slide.


Teacher question: We all know about organelles and we have all seen the pictures of a cell so

who here can tell me what shape a cell is?

Likely responses: a circle or a sphere

Teacher response to a circle: They will never be a circle. Remember there is stuff in there. Think


Teacher response to a sphere: good they can be and that is all we have seen so far but, what about

this cell (show a picture of a neuron).

This is a cell but it is not a sphere. It serves a specific purpose and will always look like this.

Who thinks they know why this cell is like this and the other cells are spheres?

Response you are looking for: some kind of skeleton.

Correct there is some kind of a skeleton it’s called the cytoskeleton and it is made up of two

things called the microtubules and microfilament.

Action: Handout the microtubules and microfilament worksheets

I want you to fill out these work sheets with at least three important points for both microtubules

and microfilament. You can do more then three, which will help you to study for the test next


Action: show slide of microtubule, explain what it does and how it does it. Answer any

Action: show slide of microfilament, explain what it does and how it does it. Answer any


Pick students at random for acting out of structures. Pull the students aside and explain what they

need to do to act out the function of microtubules and microfilament in a cell. Then have them

perform for the class. Answer any questions before moving on.

Let us talk about the cell walls now, who here knows what a mosaic is?

Student response: A picture made of small colored pieces.

That is right! It is many small parts coming together to make a whole picture. So what do you

think I mean when I say the cell walls are a fluid mosaic?

Possible student response: it is made up of many fluids

Teacher response: no but you got the mosaic part down. What does fluid mean?

Possible student response: moves freely

Teacher response: Yes, so what is the fluid mosaic?

Possible student response: A bunch of parts that move like a fluid

Teacher response: yes and that is exactly what the cell wall is

Teacher action: show cell wall slide

Teacher action: Explain the different parts of the cell wall and their functions to the class.

Answer any questions which come up.

Teacher question: Who here has heard the expression “oil and water don’t mix?”

Who here knows why they don’t?

Its polarity, the oil is non-polar or without a charge, and the water is polar because it carries a


Explain that this is the same process driving cell membrane structure.
The oil is like the parts to the cell membrane it will group together to get away from the water.

Water’s chemical formula is H2O the bond of oxygen to hydrogen is a shared electron but

it is not shared equally so the oxygen end of the molecule is negative.

Pick two students to come to the front of the room for an example one very large one very small

have them do a tug of war

the rope is the negative charge the larger student ends up with more of it so there is a positive

end and negative end i.e. H2O is charged

do the same demonstration for two similar sized students the negative charge will be evenly

shared so that would be a non-polar molecule.

Explain that this is the same process driving cell wall structure.


Answer any questions from the class.

Explain that molecules need to get across the membrane show slide again.

Student homework: this is a protein which acts as a pump across the membrane. Tonight I want

you to tell me what kind of molecules you think need to be pumped and what will go across on

there own.