Teacher Guide for Amplify Cell Structure and ¢â‚¬› amplify-assets...
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S1-1© 2014 Amplify Education, Inc.
Teacher Guide for Amplify Cell Structure and Function Module
The guide provides you with extra support for teaching certain key topics in Session 1.
Key goals for Session 1
• Discuss the context for why we should learn about cells
• Develop questions that will drive student investigations throughout the module
• Engage students in the investigation
• Get students comfortable with the simulation
We recommend that Session 1 (including the pre-assessment) be taught over two days (a total
of approximately 1.5 hours of class time).
• Quick student refresher on cell theory
Students will benefit from prior exposure to cell theory. This warm-up provides an
opportunity to review some cell theory, including (i) what makes something living or non-
living; (ii) that cells are the basic unit of life and that everything is made of cells; and (iii)
Introduction to Cells
• Develop driving questions
Lead a discussion with students to develop driving questions that will guide their subsequent
investigations in the module. Allow students to brainstorm as much as possible and guide
the conversation. Ultimately the goal is to develop overarching driving questions about the
connection between the organism and the cell, including such possibilities as:
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» Why does the health of our body rely on the health of our cells?
» Why do we need to eat and breathe?
» What happens in our cells when the body is sick?
» Why does our body get sick when our cells can’t fulfill their functions?
Emphasizing the connection between the cell and the organism drives student engagement
in the module and reminds students that they are studying the cell in service of
understanding the organism.
• Why do we eat and breathe?
Once the class has a general overarching question (or several) about the cell’s connection to
the body, let students know that they’re going to start exploring this connection by focusing
on why we need to eat and breathe.
Begin by asking students why they think humans need to eat and breathe. Students often
respond with something like “the body needs nutrients from food” or “the body needs
oxygen.” Probe students with questions like “What do you mean by the body?” or, “What in
the body needs oxygen and nutrients?”
Students then tend to identify organs like the lungs or the stomach. Push further, asking
questions like “Why do organs need oxygen and nutrients, which come in the form of
molecules?” to guide them to tissue. Eventually, students will suggest the connection
between eating and breathing and cells.
» You might want to push even further: “Well, why do cells need oxygen and sugar? How
do they use them? And what are they?” This is a good opportunity to introduce students
to molecules and organelles.
» Repeat this process for both eating and breathing
» This conversation allows students to explore the concept of scale, and puzzle out
important connections. Capture and group students’ ideas on the board (organism >
organ > tissue > cell > organelle > molecule) to facilitate their mastery of scale.
• Get students thinking about cells
As students watch the video, you may want to point out when the video transitions from
outside of the cell to inside of the cell. It is also helpful to note that all of the activity they are
observing in the video is happening inside of their cells right now.
Note: You will return to the video in Session 2 after students know more about the cell system.
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After the video concludes, invite students to point out anything from the video that they
found new, interesting, or surprising. As they share, emphasize the cell system and begin
pointing out the organelles and their functions. The purpose of the video and this discussion
is mostly engagement and setting the stage; they will discover much more about these
organelles in the next session.
• What is a simulation?
Discuss that a simulation is a way for us (and scientists) to investigate complex systems that
are not easy to examine directly. Let students know that simulations are one way to represent
the cell system. Although simulations are extremely helpful for studying complex systems,
the rules underlying the simulation – the model – are always going to be simplifications in the
case of something as complicated as the cell system.
• Introduce the tutorial/simulation
Let students explore the simulation on their own for a few minutes before checking in to see if
they understand what they are seeing. At this point you want students to understand:
» The simulation shows a cutaway of a single cell
» The cell is surrounded by other cells that are not “cut away” (this is why they look
different and we can’t see inside of them)
» At the top of the screen is a blood vessel (its walls are made of other cells) which carries
blood with nutrients and red blood cells
The goals of the tutorial are to familiarize students with the features of the simulation:
» Trace molecules
» Control molecules
» Hide/show molecules
» Turn organelles off/on
You may want to start discussing the purpose of these simulation features. For example, why
is it useful to turn an organelle off or why is it helpful to trace or control a molecule?
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Exploring the Cell
• Introducing organelles and molecules
Using the simulation, show and emphasize the difference between an organelle and
a molecule. Consider noting that the objects they see in the simulation are another
representation of the organelles and molecules they saw in the video.
Let students know that a vesicle is an organelle that carries proteins around and out of
the cell (in the simulation, you can see the protein inside the vesicle) and not a molecule.
Students often assume that vesicles are molecules not organelles, and fail to notice that they
are carrying proteins. This should also help students in Session 2, when they think about
outputs of the cell system. Note that vesicles coming out of the endoplasmic reticulum are
green and vesicles coming out of the Golgi apparatus are purple but both carry protein.
• Focusing on certain organelles
Once students have completed their inventory of molecules and organelles, tell students
that while the cell has a number of organelles (and perhaps they know of some like the
lysosome or Golgi apparatus), they will focus on the mitochondria, nucleus, ribosome, and
cell membrane during this module.
Note: The module focuses on these organelles because they tell the story of energy
transformation and protein synthesis, and because the NGSS specifically calls for students to
learn about the mitochondria, nucleus, and cell membrane.
• Organism’s connection to the cell
This is an opportunity to remind students that cells are connected to the organism via a
series of intermediate systems—organs, tissue, etc. Mastering the scale relationships is an
important foundation for the rest of the module.
S2-1© 2014 Amplify Education, Inc.
Teacher Guide for Amplify Cell Structure and Function Module
This guide provides you with extra support for teaching certain key topics in Session 2.
Key goals for Session 2
• Reinforce the concept of a system
• Investigate the cell system using the simulation
• Develop and draw a model of the animal cell system
• Understand the basic functions of the mitochondria, ribosomes, the nucleus,
and cell membrane
We recommend that Session 2 be taught over two days (a total of approximately 1.5 hours of
class time). Students generally need two class sessions to complete their investigation of the
animal cell system, develop their model, and then draw it.
Investigating the Cell System
• Frame vocabulary
Begin a discussion by asking students “What is a system?” Ask students to suggest a
familiar one—perhaps they’ll suggest a school or a city—and then discuss how a system
works, how different parts have distinct functions that keep everything working, and how
these parts are often interdependent. Remind students that they are investigating the cell
system in service of the larger goal: Understanding the connection between the organism
and the cell and, in particular, learning why humans need to eat and breathe.
• How to investigate the cell system
Ask students how they might use the simulation to investigate the cell. This is an