Plant and animal cells are two science skills/concepts that don’t really lend themselves to experiments. But, they are perfect for having students make models to represent the science. This post will share one way to make an edible animal cell model.
Edible Animal Cell Materials/Ingredients
Here are some suggested ingredients/materials. Feel free to substitute these with any other ingredients that represent the organelle well.
• pie crust
• white frosting
• blue food coloring
• red food coloring
• various fruit (we used apple, banana, blueberries, grapes, pineapple, and strawberries)
• a large platter
And here are the organelles that correspond to the ingredients above. Feel free to add in or remove organelles based on your specific science standards.
white frosting = cytoplasm
red food coloring = cell membrane
blue food coloring = vacuole
apple and grape = nucleus
banana = golgi apparatus
blueberries = ribosomes
pineapple = endoplasmic reticulum
strawberries = mitochondria
Note: Pair or group your students in groups of 3 or 4 to save on ingredients and prep time.
Edible Animal Cell Directions
1. Bake the pie crust flat on a cookie sheet. *This is the only part of making the edible model that you will have to do for the students (unless you choose to precut the fruit). This ingredient can also be substituted for large sugar cookies that are pre-made.
2. Portion out about 2 tablespoons of frosting into a small bowl and color it with blue food coloring.
3. Portion out about 4 tablespoons of frosting into a second small bowl and color it with red food coloring.
4. Leave the remainder of the frosting white.
5. After the pie crust is cool, cover it with a layer of white frosting. This is the cytoplasm.
6. Spread (or if you want to be fancy, pipe) red frosting along the edge. This will represent the cell membrane
7. As shown in the photo, spread a small area of blue frosting to represent a vacuole.
8. Slice a thin piece of apple and place that onto the frosting. Slice a grape in half and place that onto the center of the apple. These two represent the nucleus.
9. Endoplasmic reticulum can be made from small, thin pieces of pineapple. Arrange those pieces around the apple/grape nucleus.
10. Cut small, thin pieces of banana and arrange them to resemble golgi apparatus.
11. Place the blueberries in clusters to resemble ribosomes.
12. The last step is to use thinly sliced strawberries to create wavy mitochondria.
1. Have students sketch and label a model of their edible animal cell. This would make a great addition to a science interactive notebook.
2. Have students present their animal cells and explain the function of each organelle. They can do this in groups.
More Resources for Teaching Cells
Free Plant and Animal Cell Posters
This edible animal cell activity pairs perfectly with these FREE plant and animal cell vocabulary posters. Click here to grab these plant and animal cell posters in my TPT store.
Plant and Animal Cell Videos
Plant and Animal Cell No Prep Printables
Need a few resources to supplement your curriculum or textbook? Check out this no prep plant and animal cells resource in my TpT store.
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