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How to make a model plant & animal cell

Updated March 23, 2017

All living things are composed of cells, which are one of two types: eukaryote and prokaryote cells. Eukaryote cells have a nucleus whereas a prokaryote cell does not. Animal and plant cells are eukaryote cells. Animal cells differ from plant cells because the plant cell has a cell wall and chloroplasts and the animal cell does not have these organelles.

Cut out a circle the size of the paper plate from the waxed paper.

Paste or tape the circular cut waxed paper on the paper plate. This will serve as the cytoplasm of the animal cell.

Glue the yarn on the edge of the paper plate. This will represent the cellular membrane of the animal cell.

Draw a smaller circle in the centre of the paper plate with a black marker. Cut enough yarn to line the small centre circle. This will represent the nuclear membrane of the nucleus.

Cut a piece of brown construction paper 1 inch wide in the shape of a rounded rectangle. Place the brown paper on the waxed paper outside of the nucleus in the cytoplasm. This will represent the mitochondria.

Cut a construction paper circle with a diameter of 2 inches. Glue three small brown buttons on top. Glue the paper to any available space on the waxed paper outside of the nucleus. This will represent the ribosomes.

Cut three to four pieces of yarn no longer than 3 inches. Tie the pieces together and glue the yarn to the waxed paper. This will represent the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell.

Glue three red buttons to the waxed paper randomly outside of the nucleus. The red buttons will represent the lysosomes of the cell.

Cut a plastic clear cup into small circles. Glue the small pieces all over the waxed paper. The small plastic circles will represent the vacuoles of the cell.

Take three to four pieces of yarn and glue as many peas as possible on the yarn. Bind them together with one piece of yarn. Place this combination on the waxed paper outside of the nucleus. This will serve as the golgi apparatus of the cell.

Use a shoebox to build the plant cell model.

Cut out waxed paper to fit the bottom of the shoebox. This will represent the cytoplasm.

Label the inner wall of the shoebox as the cell wall of the plant cell.

Place the black yarn along the inner seam of the shoebox. This will represent the cell membrane.

Draw a smaller circle in the centre of the shoebox with a black marker. Cut enough yarn to make a small circle in the centre. This will represent the nuclear membrane of the nucleus.

Repeat steps five through 10 from section one.

Place three small green candies on the waxed paper outside of the nucleus where space is available. This will represent the chloroplasts of the plant cell.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper plate
  • Shoebox
  • Black yarn
  • 10 buttons
  • Waxed paper
  • Thick thread
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Brown construction paper
  • Three red buttons
  • Three green buttons
  • Three brown buttons
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Six peas
  • 4 small green candies
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About the Author

Based in Virginia, Kevin M. Jackson has been writing professionally since 2003. He is the author of the books "Life Lessons for My Sons" and "When GOD Speaks." Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Savannah State University and a Master of Arts in urban education from Norfolk State University.