Making a model of an animal cell is a project that many schools require children to do. You can make a model from nearly any supply or material, but no project is quite as fun as an edible animal cell. This project involves creating an animal cell from edible items, such as gelatin and candy. You can use an old shoe box to hold the cell pieces and act as the cell membrane for the project.
Collect a small child’s shoebox to use as the base of the cell. You will also need about three boxes of lemon-flavored gelatin, a plum, sugar-coated gummy worms, smooth worms, raisins, hard round candies, flat chocolate candies with a candy shell, a plastic bag, gumdrops, candy sprinkles and candy ribbon. All of these ingredients will make up the base of the cell. Toothpicks and paper are necessary for labeling the components.
Converting the Box
Line the inside of the plastic box with a plastic grocery bag or gallon-sized zip bag. Use tape to secure the bag to the outside of the box. The box and plastic bag will serve as the cell membrane supporting the cell and holding all other components together. Glue the sides of the bag to the sides of the box to make the inside as smooth as possible. Allow the glue to dry for one or two hours before adding the gelatin.
Adding the Cell Components
Heat 1 cup of boiling water on the stove. Add three packets of gelatin to the water and stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups of cold water and stir together. Pour the liquid into the plastic-lined box. Place the box in the refrigerator for one or two hours until the gelatin is halfway set. Cut the plum in half, exposing the seed and flesh. Place the plum, seed side up in the center of the box. Place the smooth and sugared gummy worms next to the plum. Fold the candy ribbon up and place it next to the plum. Place the candy chocolates randomly around the edges of the box. Scatter three or four round candies and raisins randomly around the gelatin. Place a pile of candy sprinkles in a few spots around the gelatin. Place one gumdrop next to the gummy worms. Place the gelatin back in the refrigerator for about three more hours.
Labeling the Components
Label each part of the cell. The plum seed is the nucleolus, the plum flesh is the nucleus and the skin is the nuclear membrane. The gummy worms are the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. The chocolate candies are the lysosomes, the sprinkles are the ribosomes, the gumdrop is the centrosome, the hard candies are the vacuoles, the ribbon candy is the Golgi body and the raisins are the mitochondrion. The gelatin represents the cytoplasm and the box is the cell membrane. Print the names onto pieces of paper and glue them to toothpicks. Place the toothpicks near the appropriate items in the gelatin.
- pastel cells image by Robert Kelly from Fotolia.com