The Broken Cell Story (AIG IRP)
Cell organelles are often studied in isolation or as a part of a big picture lesson on cells. This activity combines knowledge of cell organelle functions with changes that can occur in DNA that causes these organelles to not work as they should. This assignment would best fit in after students have learned about cell organelles and are studying genetics and mutations. The task requires them to write the story of a sad cell: a cell whose DNA has had mutations occur that cause it to have organelles that no longer work correctly. This lesson was developed by NCDPI as part of the Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project. This lesson plan has been vetted at the state level for standards alignment, AIG focus, and content accuracy.
Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity: Cell organelles are often studied in isolation or as a part of a big picture lesson on cells. This activity combines knowledge of cell organelle functions with changes that can occur in DNA that causes these organelles to not work as they should. This assignment would best fit in after students have learned about cell organelles and are studying genetics and mutations. The task requires them to write the story of a sad cell: a cell whose DNA has had mutations occur that cause it to have organelles that no longer work correctly.
Time Frame: 1 week
Type of Differentiation for AIGs:
Adaptations for AIGs:
Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This task allows students to address relationships between concepts (organelle function and DNA mutations) and move beyond the regular curriculum, incorporate independent study, and create a product that applies understanding of cell organelles to the real life issue of disease.
- Computer w/ internet
- Coloring pencils
Stage 1: Engage
Cells are like little cities where each organelle has a job to do to keep the city functioning. One organelle acts as the town hall (nucleus) one organelle acts like the garbage man (lysosome) one organelle acts like the post office ( ER) other organelles play the role of factories (ribosomes) and the electric company (mitochondria). Each organelle must do its job for the other organelles and cells of the body to work. If one organelle stops working correctly, the whole cell can fall apart.
Stage 2: Elaborate
Students will research diseases caused by DNA mutations within cell organelles. Students will create a book explaining what these diseases are
(Ex. Progeria, Pompes Disease) and how the organelles’ dysfunction affects the entire body. They illustrate their book accordingly. You can assign any number of organelles to be researched: 1 per person, 2 per group, etc. As they conduct their research they should answer the following questions:
- What is the role of the organelle?
- Describe the structure of the organelle including shape and organic compounds that make it up
- How does the organelles job/product affect the rest of the cell and/or tissue or organ.
- What diseases result if organelle does not work correctly? How do these diseases affect the body?
- Can a person continue to live a normal life if the organelles does not correctly function.
- Describe the types of mutations that can affect the organelle
- Differentiate between a normal cell and one that has a mutation that affects the organelle
- Explain the diseases associated with mutation that code for the organelle or the parts of the organelle
The book should include a front cover, a title page and then pages explaining/showing their organelle and the disease that results if the organelle does not correctly function. The book should contain illustrations as well as information. The book should include approximately 8-10 pages per organelle corresponding to the above questions. The final page of the book should be the works cited page. (Use either MLA or APA guidelines.)
Stage 3: Evaluate
Assessment should be based on the following:
- Accuracy of information in the book
- Use of appropriate sources
- Flow of book
- Grammar and spelling
Teacher Notes: Create a rubric or point guideline to emphasize the knowledge and accuracy of the student’s text.