How to Make Plant Cell Models Out of Food

Written by ann mazzaferro
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How to Make Plant Cell Models Out of Food
Plant cells can be brought to delicious life in a gelatin model. (feuille image by razorconcept from

Making science exciting and entertaining for young children can be a daunting task. It isn't easy to translate the complex (and occasionally dry) workings of plant science into am enjoyable and dynamic learning experience. However, a little ingenuity and a lot of creativity can help turn a science lesson into an exercise in fun and food. Have your little scientists take an active part in putting together an edible plant cell model, and make sure they explain what each cellular component does as you assemble a scientific sweet.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Instant gelatin (three packages in two flavours)
  • 8-inch-square pan, 2
  • 9-inch square pan
  • Liquorice whips
  • M&Ms, Red Hots and other small candies
  • Royal icing
  • Marzipan
  • Food colouring

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  1. 1

    Choose a flavour of instant gelatin that will allow you to clearly see inside your model. Blueberry or lemon are excellent choices for this purpose. Prepare two packages as directed, then pour evenly into two 8-inch-square pans. Let chill until set.

  2. 2

    Assemble your cellular components while the gelatin sets. For the strands of rough endoplasmic reticulum, try using liquorice whips studded with Nerds candies. Flatten marzipan into oval discs and stud with green M&Ms for the chloroplasts. Use a similar technique for the mitochondria, using small, oblong chocolate sprinkles to outline internal structures. Knead food colouring into the marzipan dough in order to further distinguish the two structures. Study illustrations of the interior of a plant cell, and let your imagination run wild.

  3. 3

    Invert one 8-inch pan of gelatin into the 9-inch square pan. Arrange the cellular components on top of this layer of gelatin. Secure with dabs of royal icing if necessary. When set, place the second layer of gelatin on top of the first layer. After layers are set in place, slowly pour the second flavour of gelatin into the surrounding 9-inch pan until flush with the top layer of gelatin. This will form your cellular wall. Let set until firm through.

  4. 4

    Label each component of your cell by writing the component name on a small slip of paper, then securing paper to a toothpick. Stick the appropriate toothpick above the appropriate structure, then serve.

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