What's in a Cell?

Version 2



    Students should have background in the structure and function of plants, including the parts of the cell. In this lesson students will use the microscope to identify parts of the cell.


    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • Identify the parts of a cell;
    • Accurately use a microscope to magnify items; and,
    • Collect findings and share in a lab report.


    At a Glance

    Subjects: Science

    Grades: Elementary

    Lesson Duration: One 50-minute class period


    Materials and Resources

    Student Devices

    • Laptops, 2-in-1s, or tablets


    Lab Materials

    Choose from one of the following slide items or use what is readily available:

    • Leaf (note: create a sample by painting a clear coat of nail polish on the back of a leaf)
    • Onion
    • Cork
    • Droppers
    • Slides, or solid colored surface for samples
    • Prepared slides of cells can be used if you have access to them

    Websites (optional)


    Inquiry Process

    Students will engage in scientific inquiry throughout this lesson. Students will develop a question to investigate and collect observational data using a microscope. They will record accurate findings to support their learning based on evidence from their recorded observations.


    Technology Benefits

    Technology can help students collect data and provide the tools needed to record accurate observations. By using the Lab Camera, students will see how easily they can take pictures and measurements of their magnified objects and share their images with others.




    Share an image of a magnified object (such as an available classroom item) with students. Ask them to make a hypothesis about the identity of the object. Ask them to share their hypothesis. Share with students the actual object they were looking at. Ask students how does magnification of items changes what they see. Ask students what they remember about working with and using traditional microscopes. Review with students the parts of the Lab Camera and how it functions to zoom, take a picture, etc.



    Allow students to explore the functions and features of the Lab Camera before getting stated with their cell exploration. Ask students if they think they will be able to see the parts of a cell. How will they know what they are looking at?


    Each lab team will gather samples to create slides. Students will prepare a thin sample of each item. Students will open the Lab Camera on their device and navigate to the microscope exploration. Students will zoom to adjust the powers of magnification until they can get a clear look at their sample.


    As students work, have them make observations and add them to their science journal. Encourage students to use the camera on the Lab Camera microscope to document the sample they are viewing by taking pictures and using the tools within the microscope to document measurements and highlight other features of their magnified sample. Students need to repeat exploration for all three samples.


    Discuss with students, “Can you see the same things with your eyes as you can with the microscope? Do the three samples have the same cell structure?” Students will note observational findings and pictures in their science journal and can import saved images from the Lab Camera into their notes.



    Students can examine the difference between plant and animal cells.



    Using ArtRage students will create a representation of a plant or animal cell with all parts clearly labeled.



    The teacher will observe students’ proper use of scientific materials and equipment. Students will record their work in a science journal, and the teacher will review for any misconceptions or questions.



    This lesson was creating by Julia Fischer, Professional Development Strategist for Clarity Innovations, Inc. in Portland, Oregon.

    In this lesson students will use the Lab Camera to identify parts of the cell.