How to make animal cells with styrofoam balls

Written by antonette ellertson
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If you've been studying cell structure and want to make a model of what you've learnt, consider working on a project where you make animal cells with styrofoam balls. The balls are lightweight and simple to work with, so you can easily manipulate the material according to your design. Since it's easy to press objects into styrofoam balls, you can use household items to represent different parts of the animal cell. All it takes is a little bit of time and a quick trip to a craft store.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Image of animal cell to replicate
  • Large styrofoam ball
  • Sharp knife
  • Glue
  • Food colouring
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Peanut shells
  • Uncooked noodles of varying shapes
  • Candy
  • Buttons
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper
  • Straws or small sticks

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    Preparing the Outer Part of the Animal Cell

  1. 1

    Analyse the image of the animal cell you want to replicate.

  2. 2

    Use your knife to cut your styrofoam ball in half.

  3. 3

    Add colour to your styrofoam ball by mixing food colouring into 1 tbsp of liquid glue. Gently brush the glue onto your styrofoam ball and let dry.

    Design the Interior of Your Animal Cell

  1. 1

    Use a pencil to gently draw the organelles (parts of your animal cell) onto your styrofoam ball. Find household items, such as peanut shells, uncooked noodles of varying shapes, candy and buttons that closely match the shape of your cell parts and gently press them into the styrofoam ball over your pencil drawings.

  2. 2

    Count how many different organelles you represent in your animal cell.

  3. 3

    Label each cell part on a small piece of paper. Slip the paper onto a toothpick.

  4. 4

    Press the toothpick into the styrofoam ball next to the cell part it represents so each part is clearly labelled.

  5. 5

    Add other styrofoam balls if you plan to represent a variety of animal cells. Link the cells together using straws or small sticks.

Tips and warnings

  • Get parental supervision when using the knife to cut your styrofoam ball in half.

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