Cells are the LEGOs of all living things. Everything living is built from cells. Some organisms (such as amoeba and bacteria) consist of only one cell. At the other end of the scale, our bodies have more than ten trillion cells. Yet all cells, whether they are plant or animal, have many similarities. Want to know what you have in common with a dandelion? Follow me.
"What is the process by which water flows through cells? A: hydrorefusion B: osmosis C: pinocytosis" This fun page explaining cells is just one of dozens that BrainPOP offers on science, technology and health - and I've recommended them frequently over the years. BrainPOP Cells features a Flash movie, followed by a quiz and a few printable activities. As for the answer to the quiz question, you'll just have to log on, watch the movie, and take the self-grading quiz yourself.
The best clicks for high-school students (and adults) are found on the left-hand menu starting with Plant Cells, Animal Cells and Mitosis. Each chapter includes a dozen sub-topics (such as nucleus and cell membrane) that are covered with their own illustrated page. Additional highlights of the site are the amazing photographs found in Cell Cams, Cell Gallery and on free e-postcards to send to friends from your biology class. Think you know your stuff? Try the three tough quizzes on Cell Structure, Microbes and The Immune System.
Created specifically to encourage upper elementary and middle-school students to delve into science, I Can Do That explains plant and animal cells with a cartoon-like approach. "I'm Chloe the chloroplast. I'm a part of a plant cell. My job is to turn sunlight into sugar! Isn't that a grand job? Plant cells, and animal cells for that matter, are pretty sophisticated." Additional topics include DNA, synthesis and cloning. Some students might find the comic book approach annoying, while others will love it.
The imaginary Kapili Islands are home to a variety of research labs which produce the wonderfully educational Kapili.com. Their site on cells is my pick of the day! Great illustrations and a breezy writing style make this site a winner for middle and high school students as well as us older learners. After cells, check out the Topic List for more biology (biochemistry and ecology,) physics, chemistry and astronomy.