A cell model is a three-dimensional design that shows the parts of an animal or plant cell. It is possible to create it with items found at home; another option is to buy a few simple items to create a fun and educational product.
Method 1 of 4: Researching Cell Models
Step 1. Decide whether you want to make an animal or plant cell
The format of each is different. So, depending on the type you choose, it will be necessary to use different materials.
Step 2. Research the parts of a plant cell
You will need to understand what each part of this structure looks like, as well as what they do. Generally, plant cells are larger than animal cells and have rectangular or cubic shapes.
- There are numerous quality images showing the parts of an animal cell on the internet.
- The main unique feature of the plant cell is that, unlike the animal cell, it is surrounded by a thick, rigid cell wall.
Step 3. Research the parts of an animal cell
Unlike plant cells, they have no walls. They can be of varying sizes and irregular shapes. Most cells range from one to 100 micrometers and are only visible under a microscope.
There are also several good quality images showing the parts of an animal cell on the internet
Method 2 of 4: Making a Gelatin Model
Step 1. Gather the materials
To create a gelatin cell, you will need:
- Lemon jelly or unflavored.
- Light colored fruit juice (if using unflavored gelatin).
- Various sweets and fruits, such as: raisins, gelatin worms (simple and sour), caramels, jelly beans, grapes, tangerine segments, granules, M&M's, chin-breakers, dried fruits and/or hard candies. Avoid using marshmallows as they will float on top of the jelly.
- A large airtight plastic bag.
- A spoon.
- A large bowl or container.
- Access to a stove or microwave oven.
- Access to a refrigerator.
Step 2. Make gelatine using less water than recommended by the package
This will make it more rigid and make the parts of the cell fall into place more easily.
- Heat the water to boiling point using ¾ of what is recommended by the package. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot liquid and mix carefully. Add the same amount of cold water to the mixture.
- If you are using unflavored gelatin, add fruit juices to the product instead of water so that the final product has a clear, bright color.
- Gelatin will represent the cell's cytoplasm.
Step 3. Place the plastic bag inside a sturdy container such as a bowl or large pot
Slowly pour the fresh gelatin into the bag.
- Make sure there is enough space in the bag for all cell components that will be added later.
- Close the bag and refrigerate it.
Step 4. Wait for an hour until the gelatin is relatively hard
Then remove the bag from the fridge and open it.
Step 5. Add several sweets to the gelatin bag; they will represent the parts of the cell
Use candies that have the correct colors and shapes that match the components of the real cell.
Keep in mind that if you're making a plant cell, you'll have to add a membrane to the gelatin using sweets like stick gum
Step 6. Create a legend showing which candies correspond to which parts of the cell
You can make a card with a piece of each candy glued together, or create labels by writing or typing the name of the cell part and attaching them to each candy.
Step 7. Close the complete cell model again and once more refrigerate it
This will allow the gelatin to settle, creating a strong pattern.
Feel free to take a photo of the jelly model. Then eat it
Method 3 of 4: Making a Cake Pattern
Step 1. Gather the ingredients
To make a cake model, you will need:
- Cake mix, in addition to the ingredients needed to make this mix.
- Vanilla topping.
- Food coloring (of your choice).
- Assorted sweets to represent the organelles, such as: blue and pink hard jelly beans, hard candies, chewing gum, sour gelatin worms and granulated.
- Hang tags.
Step 2. Bake the cake in a tin according to the type of cell you are making
Use a round shape for an animal cell and a rectangular shape for a plant cell.
- Follow the directions on the package to bake the cake. You can also save some of the dough to make a cupcake that represents the core.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. Place it on a platter.
- You can also bake two 8-inch cakes and stack them if you prefer a taller cell model.
Step 3. Bring the icing to the cake
Apply food coloring to the vanilla glaze according to the colors you want to use to represent the components.
- One option is to create different colored overlays to represent the various layers of the cell. For example: to make an animal cell, you can use a yellow coating that represents the cytoplasm; to represent the core, you can use a red frosting over the cupcake.
- If you are making a plant cell, you can use a colored frosting to differentiate the cell wall and spread it along the sides of the cake.
Step 4. Place the sweets on the cake to represent the organelle
It can be helpful to print an image of the cell that helps identify its components as you position them. Good examples of candies that can be used as components of an animal cell include:
- Pink hard jelly beans for the endoplasmic reticulum.
- Blue hard jelly beans for the mitochondria.
- Granulates for the ribosomes.
- Gums for the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
- Sour gelatin worms for the Golgi complex.
- Hard bullets for the vacuoles.
Step 5. Insert the toothpicks into the cake labeled for each part of the cell
Enter the text of these labels into a computer. Cut each one and tape them to toothpicks before placing them on the cake next to their proper components.
Take pictures of the cake model. Then eat it
Method 4 of 4: Building a Clay Model
Step 1. Gather the materials
To make a clay cell model, you will need:
- A small or medium styrofoam ball.
- A pack of colored clay (feel free to use plasticine).
- Hang tags.
Step 2. Cut the Styrofoam ball in half
The size of this object depends on how detailed you want the cell parts to be.
Keep in mind that a bigger Styrofoam ball will give you more space and flexibility
Step 3. Cover the flat side of the ball with clay
You can pass the product all over the ball if you want to add some color to the top of the object.
Step 4. Make the different parts of the cell with clay of different colors
It can be useful to print an image of the cell to ensure that all components will be represented.
- Use different colored clay for each component so as to distinguish them from each other.
- Add components to the flat side of the Styrofoam ball using toothpicks.
- If you're making a plant cell, remember to add a wall to the model.
Step 5. Attach tags to cell parts
To do this, tape the toothpicks or pins -- which should be installed close to their proper components.