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by Maylene Bird

  1. use posterboard, large, maybe 2x3 ft or so
  2. use glue gun to make the cell membrane- a thick circle almost as large as the posterboard.
  3. make labels, we did both print and braille labels, for each cell part or organelle. Some students glued labels with Elmer's glue, others I helped with a glue gun, some just used tape.  This activity took several days of class to complete.
  4. use different tactile objects to represent the cell organelles and hot-glue each item to poster. 
  5. point out that each organelle has its own membrane around it and the nucleus has a double membrane around it. If you have room on the poster, put in the membranes with the glue gun. (Sometimes there’s just not room for this.)
  6. point out that there are multiple copies of most organelles in each cell, with the exception of the nucleus; sometimes we put more than one of each organelle in a cell.

Ideas for organelles:

  1. nucleus: cotton balls (4 or so)
  2. nucleolus: dry bean on nucleus
  3. mitochondria: piece of wire in the shape of a spring (wrap it around a pencil and push it together)
  4. ER (endoplasmic reticulum) (also called smooth ER): piece of silky fabric about 2 inches wide folded up--back and forth-- and stapled to hold it
  5. RER (rough ER): piece of scratchy fabric folded in the same way as the smooth ER in 4 above but before folding it put a bunch of puff paint dots all over it to represent the ribosomes
  6. golgi apparatus: stack of fingers cut off from rubber gloves; put them in a stack and staple them before gluing them down
  7. vacuole: piece of plastic grocery bag
  8. centrioles: small, about 1 inch long and only ¼ inch wide, wooden stirring stick (there are 2 centrioles)
  9. lysosome: tiny lentils, we glue down about 5-6 in a group
  10. cell wall: (plant cell only) Popsicle sticks around the perimeter of a rectangular posterboard
  11. vacuole in plant cell: much larger plastic bag piece
  12. chloroplast with chlorophyll: Velcro with green yarn attached cut in shape of chloroplast in book

Sample Cell Diagrams

Diagram 1
Two students made this one together, a braille user and regular print user.

Diagram 2
This one has simplified descriptions

Diagram 3
Braille and print users again

Diagram 4
Braille user made this one; note how she put the labels at different orientations on the right side to fit it all in.  I normally encourage students to put them all oriented the same way even if it sticks over the edge of the poster, but this one I just said do it and figure it out.

Diagram 5
This was made by a student who in transition from print to Braille and is losing vision quickly.  She chose to make her labels on the computer.

Diagram 6
Simplified plant cell. This student did not have labels.  I don't have instructions for the plant cell written up yet.