Plant and Animal Cells  

Created By: M. Mitchell-Pellett

For: Science 14

"Structure & Function of Plant & Animal Cells"

History of the Cell

The Cell :

-Is the basic unit of organisms

-Discovery made possible by the invention of the microscope

Robert Hooke used the first compound microscope to view thinly sliced cork cells

-Compound microscopes use a series of lenses to magnify in steps

-Hooke was the first to use the term "cell "

Cell Theory

Cell Theory states the following:

-All organisms are made up of one or more cells

-The cell is the basic unit of organization of all organisms

-All cells come from other cells already in existence

Levels of Organization in Living Organisms :

-Atoms (smallest unit of matter both living and non-living)

-Molecules (building blocks of matter composed of two or more atoms )

-Organelles (parts of a cell that carry out a particular function or role and are made of molecules)

-Cell (is the smallest unit of life and the building block of all living organisms)

-Tissues (tissues are formed when cells combine to carry out a task. Muscles used to move your eyes are tissues)

-Organs (when two or more tissues combine and work together. Examples are the heart or stomach organs)

-Systems (Organs work together in systems, such as stomach, liver, and pancreas that work together in our digestive system)

-Organisms (Human beings are organisms that are composed of many systems)

Levels of Organization of Living Organisms

Organism -Organ -Cell

We can observe from this diagram that cells are very small and are the building block of living organs , which in turn make up the human organism . Turn the page to see the various organelles - the small parts that make up cells...

Parts of a Cell

The parts of the cell (organelles ) that are important for you to know are: the Nucleus , Cytoplasm , Mitochondrion , Vacuole , Endoplasmic Reticulum , Golgi Body , Cell Membrane , Cell Wall , and Chloroplast  

Watch a video for an overview of the parts of a cell. Come back to this section later to play an Organelles Matching Game

The nucleus controls all the activities of the cell. It is the brain of the cell, and contains the DNA which holds hereditary instructions for things like height, and eye, and hair color. Both plant and animal cells have a nucleus.

Cytoplasm is a jelly-like substance that holds all the other organelles in place in a cell. Both plant and animal cells contain cytoplasm.

Mitochondrion releases energy in the cell. It is the "powerhouse" of the cell. It uses oxygen and released energy from digested food. It is found in both plant and animal cells.

Vacuole stores water, food, and waste that cells cannot use right away. Vacuole are present in both plant and animal cells.

 The Endoplasmic Reticulum part of a cell, transports materials. Food, water, and waste move around and out of the cell through the ER. Both plant and animals cells contains the Endoplasmic Reticulum.

Golgi Body

The Golgi Body packages and transports proteins, and holds waste products until the cell is ready to get rid of them. The Golgi Body is a specialized part of the ER (Endoplasmic Reticulum). Both plant and animal cells have a Golgi Body.

Cell Membrane

The Cell Membrane separates the inner parts of the cell from the surrounding environment. This is a semi-permeable membrane, in that it allows some things in such as water and food molecules, but keeps out other things that may be harmful or unnecessary. Both plant and animal cells have a Cell Membrane.

Review the parts of the cell you have learned thus far through this interactive game.

Cell Wall

Found only in plant cells, the Cell Wall, provides protection and strength for the cell. This is a non-living part of the cell.


Chloroplast is found only in plant cells. It contains a pigment called chlorophyll which gives color to plants. This also provides a large surface area to collect sunlight for photosynthesis.

Watch a video that provides an inward picture of a plant cell. Check your understanding of plant and animal cells by viewing this model.

Difference Between Plant and Animal Cells

The major differences between plant and animal cells are:

1 . Plant cells have a cell wall, and animal cells do not.

2. Plant cells have chloroplasts which gives plants a green color. Animal cells do not have chloroplasts.

Click on a video about plant cells and compare it to the video about animal cells.