Model Of A Cell

Another bad example of Project Based Learning: making a Model Of A Cell. Number One Son (5th grade) has to make a model of 1 animal cell and 1 http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=plant+cell&btnG=Search+Images |plant cell existing notes:

buyable toy http://www.hometrainingtools.com/product_categories/31-life-science-biology-microscopic-life/products/6082-plant-cell-model |model done FlickR:AnimalCell

  • red tissue paper as cell member, placed on pasta bowl, then filled with...

  • modelling clay as cytoplasm

  • styrofoam ball as nucleus, dig out center to stuff in....

  • spherical lollipop as nucleolus

  • nucleus wrapped in fruit-rollup as nuclear membrane (with holes cut for nuclear pores)

  • clear egg-carton sections as vacuoles

  • malted-milk-balls as lysosomes

  • red construction paper loosely folded around the nucleus as rough endoplasmic reticulum

  • folded-ribbon of fruit-rollup as golgi apparatus

  • cut sections of blue licorice as golgi vesicles

  • tiny random candy as ribosomes

  • red clay as body of mitochondria, with folded chewing-gum-strip as the internals

  • cut sections of green licorice as centrioles

Similar work for FlickR:PlantCell - note clear juice bottle as single large vacuole

Could a 5th grader do this School Project?

  • figure out what to use and how?

  • physically make the bits?

What do they actually learn from such a project?

  • that a cell has various components which have different functions, like parts of a machine.

  • they don't actually learn what those functions are, or how they work....

  • so is the project worth the time? It doesn't seem like it to me.

Are analogies useful, or just more vague pseudo-knowledge?


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