Animal cells are the building blocks for every creature in the animalia kingdom. You can display the intricacies of an animal cell by building a three-dimensional model of one. Building the model can teach you about science while allowing you to employ your artistic and creative side. Remember to keep a healthy balance between scientific accuracy and creativity, though.
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The cell wall of an animal is a rigid, square-like structure that holds in the different components of the cell. Use a square container that will not bend easily, like a plastic box or a cake pan. Paint the container a light peach colour to help separate it from the green cell wall of a plant cell. The cell container needs to be large enough to hold all the inner components of the cell. Choose a container larger than you think you might need.
The inside of the animal cell contains many components that come in all shapes and sizes. Be creative when it comes to choosing your materials. For example, you can use food products to create the different components of the cell, such as a jawbreaker for the nucleus and liquorice for the endoplasmic reticulum. You can choose to use foam balls and ribbon instead, if you prefer to avoid using edible materials. Use materials that bulge instead of lying flat to get an impressive three-dimensional effect.
Without cytoplasm, the inner components of the cell would move freely within the cell wall. Use a liquid that solidifies to hold the components of your cell in place. Gelatin works well for this purpose. Place the inner components of the cell into the container while the gelatin is still in a liquid state. Set the container in the fridge to solidify the gelatin and hold the inner components still. Add a little food colouring to the liquid gelatin if you want to tint the gelatin a certain shade.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine what component of the cell is being represented by each component in the model. Alleviate the confusion by labelling each component after the gelatin solidifies. Write the name of each cell component on a wooden craft stick cut down to an inch in length. Insert one end of the craft stick into the gelatin near the appropriate component. When someone reviews the animal cell model, he can read the labels on the craft sticks to identify which part of the cell he is viewing.
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