Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Organizing Organs

Carolyn Garner
Bay District Schools


This is the fifth lesson for days 9-12 in the Unit Plan, What Makes Me Who I Am? Students examine the parts of a cell. They compare and contrast plant cells to animal cells. They understand how cells are organized to form structures (tissues, organs.)


The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student knows the parts of plants and animal cells.

The student understands how similar cells are organized to form structures (for example, tissue, organs) in plants and animals.

The student constructs models to compare objects in science.


-Student Handouts:
Identifying the Parts of an Animal (Body) Cell
Identifying the Parts of a Plant Cell
Labeling the Parts of a Cell
Comparing Plant and Animal Cells
Flow Chart

Animal Cell and Tissue
Flow Chart
Student handouts (Optional if the teacher deems necessary for a visual aid)

-Pictures, slides, or overheads showing the parts of animal and plant cells
-Library books on cells, tissues, organs, and body systems
-Classroom science textbooks that include information on cells, tissues, etc.
-Textbooks with parts of cells
-Attribute shapes, pattern blocks (Try to have a variety of shapes.)
-Plain drawing paper
-Applicable computer software
-Videos or films
-Overheads of body and plant cells
-Student Notebooks


1. Locate materials for research. Books should be on cells, tissues and organs and explain that they are systems and relate to each other. Science textbooks may suffice. Also, try using the following:
*[Fascinating Facts About the Human Body] by the Education Center, Inc. Grades 4-6
*Magic School Bus Software
*[The Human Body] by Global Enterprises Company
2. Microscopes are optional. (if you have slides of cells the students can look at)
3. Obtain slides of cells or pictures of cells.
4. Bookmark Beacon Learning Center Student Web Lesson: Mixed-Up Cells.
5. Locate computer programs (if available).
6. Copy worksheets to use with the lessons.
7. Have a plant available for observation.
8. Collect videos or films on plant and animal cells.
9. Have available attribute shapes or pattern blocks. Try to vary.
10. Bookmark Internet Websites.
11. Update the table of contents.
12. Make transparencies.


Florida's fifth grade students need to know the parts of plant and animal cells.
Florida's fourth grade students should have been introduced to cells. The student knows that living things are composed of cells. The student knows that processes needed for life are carried out by the cells. Use some method to see what they remember.

1. Bridge to the guiding concept by reviewing with students: What makes me who I am? Guide students through a review of the concepts such as inherited characteristics and environmental characteristics. (It may be helpful at this point to spend a few moments reorganizing the student notebooks and checking for missing information.) Now tell students that they will be discovering who they are by looking on the inside of their bodies and studying cells, tissues, and body systems.

2. Choose one of the methods below to review with students. They should glean from this activity the knowledge of what plant and animal cells look like.
*Students can examine parts of cells using a microscope or hand lens.
*A Beacon Learning Center Student Web Lesson, Mixed-Up Cells, can be used to introduce or to review the parts of a cell.
*Electronic encyclopedias or presentation software such as PowerPoint could also be used.
*If no technology is available, then rely on books and text books.

3. After students have viewed the parts of plant and animal cells, give them practice identifying the parts. Use the student worksheet, Identifying Part of Plan Cells and Identifying Parts of Body Cells (or one of your own). Using the overheads of both cells, review with students the parts of cells. As you color code, ask different students to provide you with the answers. Make sure students use the worksheet to study the parts of the plant and animal cells.

4. In their journals and using their notes, have students answer the following questions: What are the parts of a body cell? Plant cell?

5. Formatively assess student journals using the following criteria. Check student content to ensure they have written the parts correctly. If they have not, then reteach as necessary.

1. Remind students of the purpose of studying cells. (It is helping us to discover who we are.)

2. Using the overheads, review the parts of plant and animal cells. Also utilize the previous day's activity, the color-coded identifying plants and animal cells.

3. Give students the worksheets titled Labeling the Parts of a Cell. First, have them attempt to fill in what they know without using their notes or the overhead. Then, put the overhead back up and have students finish labeling the worksheet.

4. Now, give students the Venn diagram and tell them that this Venn diagram will help them discover how animal and plant cells are similar. Have students fill in the Venn diagram.

5. These two activities can be used as a formative assessment. If students do not show an understanding, reteach as necessary.

1. Review the guiding question: What makes me who I am? Students should not only discuss inherited and environmental characteristics, but they should also be able to begin discussing cells.

(Background Information: Each body system and its function will be addressed in detail in the next lesson. For the purpose of this lesson, the students just need to be aware that the cells are organized into tissue, that tissue forms organs, and that organs form body systems.)

2. If your body is made of billions of cells, where are all these cells? Are they just scattered everywhere, or are they grouped together? What do they form? (The next activity will help students understand how tissues are formed.)

3. Pass out the pattern blocks or attribute blocks. Each student selects ONE shape. They are to pretend that the shape represents one cell. In the center of a piece of plain paper have the students trace around the shape. Have students tessellate their shape to form tissue. (Trace around the pattern connecting each shape.The sides of the shapes should be touching.) They should trace around the shape 10 times. Next, they choose one of the cells (tesselated shape) in which they will label the parts of a cell. See the example in the associated file.

4. Discuss: What do the shapes you traced around represent? (cells) Why did we connect the shapes together? (Students may or may not know the answer to this question so tell them that we'll answer it doing some research.)

5. Write these words on the board: cells, tissues, organs, body systems. Ask students: How do these relate to one another? Let's find out. Let students utilize the library books that you selected in order to do the research to find how cells, tissues, organ and systems are related to each other. As they are doing their research, guide students to an understanding that cells form tissue, tissue forms organs, and organs form a system. Time may permit students the opportunity to begin on Day Three.

NOTE: It may be helpful to integrate language arts into this section. By integrating the research component, it not only saves time, but it shows students how the items fit together.

1. Allow students to complete their research if they haven't already.

2. Discuss the students' research. Make sure they have the correct concept. Cells form tissue (muscle tissue, nerve tissue). This tissue forms organs. These organs work together as a system. Use the muscular system as an example. Muscle cells form muscle tissue. Muscle tissue forms a bicep, which is an organ of the muscular system. Muscular systems join to form a body system.

3. Show students the example of a flow chart in the attached file. Tell them that this is another way scientists can document their research. What are some other ways scientists document their research? (data collection sheets, Venn diagrams, dichotomous keys).

4. Fill in the flow chart with students using the concept that cells form tissue, etc. (See Summative Assessment #2 for an example.)

5. Now, relate the same concept to plants. Show the students a plant. Tell them that this plant is a plant system. Ask them: What would be the organs of a plant's system? (Leaves, stems, and roots). Students can do a quick search, or they can view a video(s) that explains this concept.

6. Science Journals:
Write these words on the board: TISSUE, SYSTEMS, CELLS, ORGANS. Have students construct a Flow Chart using the words to show they understand how cells form structures. Have them explain how this concept applies to a human system and a plant system.

Students should be able to identify the different parts using their flow chart. Use the Rubric to assess students' explanations of how similar cells are organized to form structures in both a human system and a plant system.


Use the worksheets, Labeling the Parts of a Cell and the Venn diagram called Comparing Plant and Animal Cells, as formative assessments. Make sure that the students know the parts of the plant and animal cells and the difference between them.

Use the tessellated drawing of cell as a formative assessment to make sure that students are beginning to understand that similar cells are organized to form structures.

Use the Science Journal Rubric (available in the lesson plan, Decidedly Different,) cell, tissue, organ, system flow chart and the examples given as a formative assessment and for content to make sure the students understand how similar cells organize to form structures.

Formative assessment can be used for the student research. Informally instruct students if it is apparent during the research that they do not understand that similar cells are organized to form structures.


1. Students who appear to be struggling with the content should be allowed time to do the Student Web Lesson, Mixed-Up Cells.

2 [The Magic School Bus Explores the Human Body], by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan, is a great book. It is also a video and CD-ROM.

3. The CD-ROM, [My Amazing Human Body], guides students on an interactive journey through the body. A 3-D skeleton teaches children about human anatomy, health, and nutrition.

4. For use in art or as a time filler, the Website, Cool Math, explores which regular polygons can be used in tessellations. See Weblinks.

5. As an alternative review, have students repeat the tessellation activity the following day. Then, have them journal about what the tessellation activity has helped them visualize. (Things group together to form systems.)

6. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link listed in Weblinks.

Web Links

Web supplement for Organizing Organs
The Human Body

This is the link to the unit plan. Scroll to the associated files to find the Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, Unit Plan Overview, and other files.
What Makes Me Who I Am?

This Website explains tessellations and explores which regular polygons can be used in tessellations.
Cool Math

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