Constructing an animal cell for school is an interactive learning tool for life science class. Creating a cell out of JELL-O adds an edible element to the project, which makes the project even more rewarding. You are learning about life science as well as practicing your cooking skills. JELL-O is gelatin that is translucent and firm, an ideal material for recreating cytoplasm. Choose any flavour of JELL-O as long as it is light in colour.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 113gr box of clear or yellow instant JELL-O
- Medium-sized round bowl
- 6-inch square dish that is 4 inches deep
- Cling film
- Paring knife
- 1 tbsp edible glitter or cake sprinkles
- 4 candy orange slices
- 5 small round hard candies
- Old-fashioned ribbon candy
- Shoestring liquorice
- Sour gummy worm
- Boston baked bean candy
- 4 jelly beans
- 1 tsp apple juice (optional)
Mix a four-ounce box of clear or lemon-flavoured JELL-O powder with water according to the package directions in a medium-sized bowl. Line a six-inch square dish that is four inches deep with cling film and leave approximately three inches hanging over the sides.
Pour half of the liquid JELL-O into the plastic-lined dish. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the JELL-O set to create the first half of the cytoplasm.
Cut an unpeeled peach in half so you expose the pit inside; this represents the nucleus with the peach flesh; the nucleolus with the pit; and the peach peel as the nuclear membrane. Place the cut peach on top of the firm JELL-O cytoplasm in the centre of the cell.
Pepper 1 tbsp of edible glitter or cake sprinkles over the JELL-O to symbolise ribosomes and cell proteins. Arrange four orange slices around the peach nucleus to represent the mitochondria. Add five small, round hard candies on the JELL-O as the lysosomes.
Place one piece of old-fashioned ribbon-shaped candy on the JELL-O to symbolise the Golgi body. Twist a sour gummy worm into a loose knot to represent the rough endoplasmic reticulum and add it to the JELL-O cell. Wind a piece of shoestring liquorice back and forth in a two-inch-long structure and place it next to the sour gummy worm to symbolise the smooth endoplasmic reticulum.
Place one Boston baked bean candy near to the peach nucleus as the centrosome. Insert four jelly beans around the nucleus to represent the vacuoles.
Pour the remaining liquid gelatin over the cell organelles and let set for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Remove the completed JELL-O cell by using the cling film -- which symbolises the cell membrane -- to lift it out of the container. Wrap the ends of the cling film around the cell to hold it together until ready to eat.
Tips and warnings
- If you use clear gelatin, you may want to add a teaspoon of apple juice to sweeten the cell.
- Do not try to insert the organelles into JELL-O that has already set or the JELL-O will crack; it will no longer be clear enough to see all organelles.
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