How to build a simple model of an animal cell

Written by stephanie ellen
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How to build a simple model of an animal cell
Creative ingredients make a dull science project much sweeter. (myocarditis image by Lukasz Mazurkiewicz from

A model of an animal cell is a representational tool for learning about the structure of a cell and how that cell works. Computer programs and technical kits can help you build models of animal cells, but if you take the more creative route and build your own project from candy, you can eat the result. One idea, adapted from Enchanted Learning's Jello Animal Cell Craft, is a to build an animal cell from candy and gelatin.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Package of gelatin dessert
  • Round cake pan
  • Fruit Roll-Ups, 2 colours
  • Round cookie cutters
  • Gumballs
  • Gummy hamburgers
  • Candy-coated chocolate candies
  • Tiny candy dots
  • Sugar coated worms
  • Gummy worms
  • Small jawbreakers

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  1. 1

    Make the cytoplasm (represented by the gelatin) and wall (the cake pan) of the cell by preparing the gelatin dessert according to package directions and pouring it into the cake pan. Let the gelatin cool in the refrigerator for a few minutes, but do not allow it to set.

  2. 2

    Gather the following items for your cell components while the gelatin is cooling: Six round gumballs (centrosomes), four gummy hamburgers or other small, layered candy (Golgi body), six small candy-coated chocolate candies (mitochondria), 20 to 30 tiny candy dots (ribosomes), six sugar-coated worms (rough endoplasmic reticulum), six gummy worms (smooth endoplasmic reticulum) and four small jawbreakers (vacuole).

  3. 3

    Cut a circle from one colour of Fruit Roll-Up using a cookie cutter. Cut a second, smaller circle from the second colour. Place the smaller piece on top of the larger piece so that it resembles a fried egg.

  4. 4

    Remove gelatin from the refrigerator. Place the nucleus (the Fruit Roll-Up) on top of the gelatin.

  5. 5

    Place the candy ribosomes in three groups in the Jello. Arrange the rest of the candy in the gelatin. Your project will look more attractive if the items are evenly arranged around the cake pan.

  6. 6

    Place in the refrigerator and allow to set.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a white or coloured cake pan (instead of a dark metal one) for a prettier effect.

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