The Cell

The fundamental unit of life is the cell.  Without at least 1 cell, an organism can’t live.  Even you and I started out as a single cell at one point.  So I present another artistic masterpiece, an animal cell I drew just for you.


As you see the cell is labeled an Animal Cell.  There are many types of cells and this is what a generic animal cell looks like.  Muscle cells and nerve cells will have a different look, but will have the same parts.  Likewise, cells of plants are similar, but not identical to animal cells.  And bacteria cells are even more different!  But since we’re animals, we’ll start with the animal cell.

You can think of the cell like a little city.  Every part inside of the cell has a purpose; it’s there to do a job.   The parts that make up a cell are called organelles.  Here are some of the important cell parts and their jobs:

Cell membrane – like the walls of a castle, the cell membrane allows in things that are needed (like food) and allows out things that aren’t needed (like waste).  The cell membrane is the cell’s first line of defense to keep unwanted intruders out (like viruses!).

Cytoplasm – sort of like jelly, the cytoplasm is the cell’s internal environment and keeps the organelles from bumping into each other.

Endoplasmic reticulum (E.R.) – specific jobs vary from one cell type to another, but ultimately helps with transport of proteins, much like a conveyor belt.

Golgi apparatus – modifies and transports proteins from the E.R., as well as creation of lysosomes and transport of lipids.  The Golgi apparatus is like a factory, it builds and ships.

Lysosome – these sacs are full of enzymes for digesting food that come into the cell.

Mitochondrion – like power plants, the mitochondria turn sugar into energy that’s usable by the cell.  Your house uses electricity, the cell uses a molecule called ATP.

Nuclear envelope – is like a second wall around the nucleus.  Just like the King has a second set of guards closer to him, the nuclear envelope is even more selective than the cell membrane, and not much gets through.  There are holes in the nuclear envelope and usually only nucleic acids and some proteins are allowed in and out.

Nucleolus – primarily makes ribosomes.  That’s all you need to know!

Nucleus – the mayor’s office of the cell.  Everything that happens in the cell is ultimately controlled by the nucleus and the DNA inside.   The lack of a nucleus is a easy way to tell that the cell you’re looking at is a prokaryote.

Ribosome – take amino acids and make proteins.  It’s like a little machine that runs nonstop until it reaches the end of its job!  There’s a neat little animation on Wikipedia.


19 Responses

  1. I studied this in my junior year of highschool.

  2. Thanks for stopping by lovebug!

  3. […] The two posts I usually get the post hits on are the posts that feature my rendition of a generic animal cell and Pasteur’s disproving of spontaneous […]

  4. […] made to date.  I hope it will become more popular and useful than my current heavy hitters the cell and even Louis Pasteur’s experiment of spontaneous generation, which I’ve seen make the […]

  5. you forgot the vacuole

    *editor’s note: vacuoles are present in animal cells, but are not a major feature. typically at this level of education (grades 6-12), people are only concerned with vacuoles in plant cells, since they are much more prominent.*

  6. i really like this is alot of help and this just help me on my project!!!n thanks

  7. […] people get that in a week. I’m glad to have reached so many. Mainly with my science cards, my cell diagram, and the most popular: my spontaneous generation experiment […]

  8. dude seriously who has a science blog with a stupid name like that get a life!!!!!!

  9. i am learn about this in 5th grade now

  10. Some very helpful info thanks

  11. Useful for making a model of a cell

  12. Im using this image in a project for school. tell me if you have any problems with that

  13. I got a A in science

  14. Thank you! Very helpful!

  15. Very beneficial and easy to understand..

  16. helpful

  17. i love your profile picture almost as much as i love your information!!! very impressed:)

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