How to Make an Animal Cell Out of JELL-O

Written by miranda brumbaugh
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How to Make an Animal Cell Out of JELL-O
JELL-O is a quick dish that requires basic cooking skills. (Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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
  • Peach
  • 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)

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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

    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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