Cell Analogies

Grades 6-9, 90-120min

In the Cell Analogies project, students represent plant or animal cells by coming up with an overarching analogy that includes each cell component. They create a visual representation of their analogy on paper, in Google Slides or by coding it in Scratch, and then explain how each organelle fits in with their chosen analogy in a written justification.

Topics addressed:

  • Plant cells, animal cells and organelles
  • Primary CT concept: abstraction. After spending some time learning about the nitty-gritty details of cells and organelles, this is a great opportunity for students to take a step back and think about the cell at a higher level, representing key concepts and functions with creative analogies.

Students will be able to:

  • Describe how each organelle functions and how it benefits the cell
  • Create a visual representation their cell analogies in an artistic format


  • PowerPoint presentation: powerpoint pdf
  • Student handout: word pdf
  • Craft materials, if you’d like students to have the option of creating a 3D model

Suggested lesson breakdown:

This project is more of a practice/synthesis tool than a teaching tool, and therefore works best towards the end of the unit.

  • 10min – introduce project, go over requirements and grading rubric
  • 10-15min – students brainstorm their overarching analogy and how each organelle fits in
  • 55-70min – students create their visual representations of their analogies
  • 15-25min – students write their explanations of each component of their analogy

Next Generation science standards:

  • NGSS.MS-LS1-2
    Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways the parts of cells contribute to the function.

Common Core standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7
    Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).