A common assignment in many biology classes involves the cell analogy, where students are required to complete a project titled, “The cell is like a …” Students choose an analogy, such as a city or a museum, and then liken the various cellular organelles to different people and places within that city or museum. The culmination of this project is usually a cell travel brochure, an assignment in which students use their knowledge of a cell to make a pamphlet on all the city’s attractions.
Make a list of all the organelles that your teacher requires you to write about. This list should include the nucleus, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, lysosomes, vacuoles, cytoplasm and the cell membrane. (See Reference 1)
Find and write down the function of each organelle. For example, the nucleus stores all the genetic information in a cell. Knowing the function of each organelle will help you to decide what type of attraction that you should make in your city.
Look at travel brochures for real cities and take some notes on how those brochures present places to see. Ask yourself about how they make attraction sound interesting, and think about how the brochure layout helps you decide what you want to see in that city. (See Reference 1)
Decide what part of the city that you want to make each organelle. Remember, the place in the city that you select has to have something to do with the organelle’s function in a cell. For example, you could say that the nucleus is City Hall because it stores all the city’s information and records and that’s where all the decisions are made. (See Reference 2)
Write out a small blurb on each organelle that you have to include. This blurb should do two things; it should tell your teacher that you know the function of that cellular organelle, and it should tell a tourist why they should want to come and see your organelle/attraction. For example, you could tell tourists that all of the town’s historical records are stored in City Hall, and that they should come and see the old records and watch all of the history in action. This tells your teacher that you know that DNA is stored and made in the nucleus, and it tells tourists that City Hall is a cool place to see. (See Reference 2)
Find pictures of all of the cellular organelles that you need for your brochure. Make sure that you do not violate copyright laws.
Paste your written blurbs and the pictures into a brochure and lay them out in an organized and attractive format, just like the real travel brochures you saw. Make sure that you spell-check your brochure before turning it in.
- blood cells image by Marko Kovacevic from Fotolia.com