Activity Overview

One thing students often find difficult is using new scientific vocabulary correctly and in the appropriate context. When starting a unit, it can be helpful to introduce them to all the new terminology and have them create visual vocabulary boards that define and illustrate each word. Having a visual example along with the definition can help students understand abstract concepts.

Suggested Cells Vocabulary

  • algae
  • animal cell
  • bacteria
  • blood
  • brian
  • carbon dioxide
  • cell
  • cell wall
  • chlorophyll
  • cytoplasm
  • deoxyribonucleic acid (dna)
  • disease
  • dividing
  • egg
  • excrete
  • features
  • fertilise
  • fuse (nuclei)
  • genetic
  • labels
  • leaf
  • leaves
  • membrane
  • microbes
  • microscope
  • nucleus
  • nutrition
  • organ
  • organism
  • ova
  • parent
  • photosynthesis
  • reproduce
  • respire
  • respiration
  • section
  • slide
  • specialized
  • sperm
  • stage
  • stain
  • sugar
  • tissue
  • vacuole
  • virus
  • water

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create visualizations of key vocabulary for plant and animal cells.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose five vocabulary words and type them in the title boxes.
  3. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary and write it under the cell.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to give examples of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-MS-LS1-2] Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Science Vocabulary Assignment
Define, illustrate, or give examples of scientific key words.
33 Points
16 Points
0 Points
The vocabulary word is correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is awkward.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined.
The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell has clear examples of the key word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell has some unclear examples of the key word.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell does not have clear examples of the key word.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

How to Teach Basic Cells Vocabulary in a Multilingual Classroom


Preparation and Introduction

Begin with preparing bilingual resources, including word lists, diagrams, and flashcards in English and the predominant languages of your students. Start the lesson with a simple and visual introduction to cells, their structure, and functions. Use engaging imagery and basic language to ensure all students, regardless of their primary language, can grasp the fundamental concepts.


Interactive Vocabulary Learning

Introduce the basic cells vocabulary through bilingual flashcards, showing the term in English alongside its translation and a corresponding image. Organize a classroom activity where students match cell vocabulary words with their translations and images. This can be a fun and interactive way to learn, and doing it in groups encourages peer-to-peer learning and support.


Collaborative Group Work

Divide the class into diverse groups, ensuring a mix of students from different linguistic backgrounds. Each group is tasked with creating a visual display (like a poster or digital presentation) of a cell, labeling its parts in both English and their native languages. This encourages collaboration, discussion, and mutual learning as students work together to understand and translate each term.


Presentation and Review

Conclude the lesson with each group presenting their project to the class, explaining the cell parts in both English and their native languages. This not only reinforces their understanding of the vocabulary but also boosts their confidence in using it. Finish with a comprehensive review, such as a quiz or worksheet, where students identify cell parts and write the terms in both English and their native language, solidifying their learning.

Basic Cells Vocabulary

What's the Difference Between Plant and Animal Cells?

Plant and animal cells, while both eukaryotic, exhibit several distinct differences. Plant cells are characterized by the presence of a rigid cell wall outside their cell membrane, which provides structural support and protection. They also contain chloroplasts, the organelles responsible for photosynthesis, which converts light energy into chemical energy. Another key feature of plant cells is a large central vacuole, which stores water and maintains turgidity in the cell. In contrast, animal cells lack a cell wall and chloroplasts. They typically have smaller and more numerous vacuoles compared to plant cells. Furthermore, animal cells have centrioles, which are involved in cell division, a feature generally absent in plant cells.

How do Vacuoles Function in Plant Cells?

Vacuoles in plant cells play several crucial roles. The most prominent is the central vacuole, which occupies a significant portion of the cell's volume. This vacuole serves primarily as a storage space for water, nutrients, pigments, and waste products. By storing water, the vacuole helps maintain the cell's turgidity, which is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of the plant. Additionally, vacuoles can contain enzymes and other substances that contribute to the plant's defense mechanisms, as well as pigments that can be important for attracting pollinators.

What is Cellular Differentiation and How Does it Occur?

Cellular differentiation is the process by which a less specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type, a fundamental aspect of development in multicellular organisms. This process is guided by the expression of specific genes and influenced by both internal and external factors, such as signaling molecules and environmental conditions. Differentiation occurs as cells divide and mature, with each type of cell developing specific structures and functions that contribute to the organism's overall function. For example, stem cells in animals can differentiate into various cell types like muscle cells, nerve cells, or blood cells, each with distinct functions. The differentiation process is meticulously regulated to ensure that cells develop the necessary characteristics to perform their specific roles effectively.

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