Types of Specialized Cells

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Specialized Cells

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Activity Overview


Labeling a cell and it's functions is a great way for students to understand the things are different and similar about specialized cells. In this activity, students will create a poster labeling one type of specialized cell. For a larger-scale project, students can complete this activity for more than one type of cell or each student can create a poster for a different type of cell, so that the class has one for each at the end!

Students will need to include the function and adaptation of the cell, as well as a labeled diagram and any other pertinent information at the discretion of the teacher.


NameFunction / Adaptations
Fat Cell Fat cells store energy as fat droplets in our bodies. As well as storing energy, fat cells insulate us to keep us warm. The cells have large fat reservoirs for storing energy. They also have the ability to expand as they fill their fat reservoir.
Ciliated Epithelial Cell The function of these cells is to protect areas of the body from damage. The cilia (hairs) on top of the cells sweep dust and mucus. They are found in the trachea, for example, and protect the lungs from damage. They are adapted by having cilia which are found on the top of the cell. These cilia also move with a sweeping motion to move mucus and dirt.
Nerve Cell The function of these cells is to carry electrical nerve impulses around the body. They are adapted for this function by having an elongated shape, like a wire. They also have a myelin sheath with insulates the axon, like plastic insulation on wires. At each end, there are many connections to connect to other cells easily.
Root Hair Cell Root hair cells are found in the roots of plants. Their function is to absorb water and minerals from the soil. The long finger-like hair increases the surface area. They contain no chloroplasts and have thin cell walls which makes absorption easier.
Red Blood Cell Red blood cells are made to carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, and carbon dioxide back to the lungs. They have a biconcave shape which maximizes surface area. They contain hemoglobin, which is essential for the transport of gases. They have no nucleus to increase the amount of hemoglobin inside the cell. They are small and flexible, allowing them to fit through small blood vessels more easily.
Muscle Cell Smooth muscle cells make up many of our internal organs, providing involuntary movement by contracting and relaxing. They have a spindle shape that allows for close contact with other cells. They have the ability to contract, causing movement in smooth muscle tissue.
Egg Cell The function of the egg cell is to carry the mother’s DNA. They are produced in the ovaries and are essential for reproduction. They have a special cell membrane that only allows one sperm cell to fertilize them. Egg cells are very large compared to other cells in the body. They have a haploid nucleus, containing half the amount of genetic material as other body cells have.
Sperm Cell The function of the sperm cell is to carry the father’s DNA. They are produced in the testes and are essential for reproduction. They are small, allowing them to move easily. They have a haploid nucleus, containing half the amount of genetic material as other body cells have. They have a streamlined shape to help them move easier. The front of the cell contains an acrosome that allows the cell the break through the cell membrane of the cell. Their midpiece contains lots of mitochondria, where respiration occurs.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a labeled poster for a specialized cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a specialized cell and write the name of it in the title of the cell.
  3. Find a diagram of the specialized cell in the Science category under Anatomy, or search "cell".
  4. Label the different parts of the cells, including the adaptations.
  5. Describe the functions and adaptations of the cell in the description box.
  6. Save and submit the assignment.
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