Cell Biology and Genetics

Upper Elementary has been studying cell biology, using models, books, online resources and three part cards to study the organelles of animal cells. Each student made a play dough model of a cell. In the student-made cell above, you can see the nucleus, nucleolus, cell membrane, cytoskeleton, mitochondria, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, centriole, and a lysosome. This week, Upper Elementary students stained their own cheek cells and looked at them under a microscope. A cheek cell belonging to one of our fourth-graders is pictured. The nucleus is at the center, and the tiny dark blue dots are normal oral bacteria.

Middle School students have been studying genetics. They began the unit with Mendelian genetics, making little creatures called Bloops (and their chromosomes) to study dominant and recessive traits. After creating a Bloop and finding out its genetic makeup and sex, students crossed their Bloops, creating baby Bloops that inherited traits from their parents. Several Bloop families are pictured above.

Next, they investigated the cell cycle, the structure of DNA and the process of DNA replication at the molecular level using foam models, and took a look at Watson and Crick’s original paper on the double helix from 1953.

This week, they modeled the transcription of genes into messenger RNA. Next week, they will work on translation, and finish the unit by isolating the DNA from strawberries.

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