Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Schools and Cells

Mark Howell


Students create analogies in poster format between a cell's organelles and their school.


The student knows that body structures are uniquely designed and adapted for their function.


-Poster board
-Reference Websites (See Weblinks)
-Cell Organelle Quiz and Answer Key (See Associated File)


1. Make sure students have received instruction on cell organelles and their functions prior to this lesson.
2. Gather poster board and markers for each student group.
3. Download and copy one Cell Organelle Quiz for each student. (See Associated File)


1. Ask the class if they are familiar with the term analogy. If the students need reminding, use this example: the nucleus of a cell is like the quarterback on a football team; a quarterback is in charge of the offense, and the nucleus is in charge of the cell.

2. Explain to the students that their task, while in groups, is to create a poster that illustrates analogies between their school and the organelles inside a cell. At this time ask the class if they can name some organelles found within a cell and write their answers on the board. Add any organelles that the students don't mention. (A mandatory list of organelles would include the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus, nucleolus, cytoplasm, cytosol, cell membrane, vacuole, ribosomes, cell wall, and chloroplasts. Others may be added for extra credit as determined by the teacher.)

3. Model an analogy for the students to get started. For example, you could say a cell's mitochondria is like the cafeteria, both are a source of energy. A mitochondria provides a cell with energy, and the cafeteria provides students with energy each day.

4. After you model an analogy, ask one of the class members to create an analogy, and ask them why they made that analogy between the cell and the school.

5. At this time, allow the groups to work on their posters. Set a time to finish that allows sufficient time for students to present their information during the class. (See Assessments for presentation criteria)

6. As students present, allow discussion and refinement of the analogies. This will serve as a review for the quiz.

7. After the presentations, give the class the 10-question quiz on the cell organelles and their functions. (See Associated File)


1. Groups are assessed on oral presentations. In their presentations, students must mention all the required cell organelles and what they are like when compared with their school. They must also tell what the function of the organelle is and why they made the analogy they did to the school component. Students are not assessed on presentation skills, only content.
2. Students' quizzes may be checked using the Answer Key in the associated file.


Analogies can be made for sports teams, businesses, etc.

Web Links

Web supplement for Schools and Cells

Web supplement for Schools and Cells
Animal Cells

Attached Files

Cell Organelle Quiz and Answer Key.     File Extension: pdf

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