Grade Level: Middle school, but can be adapted up or down several grade levels.
-1 Class Period for Research
-I Class Period for Design
-1 Class Period for Building in the Fab Lab
-I Class Period for Presentation/Share out
A very common lesson plan in middle school science is for students to create a model of a cell and its organelles using materials such as food and craft items. This lesson is the same concept, but using the fab lab to create the organelles instead. Students will work in pairs to research an organelle (as assigned by the teacher-each group gets a different organelle). The teacher will give the students' size constraints. The entire class will contribute an organelle to the larger project of a classroom created cell.
Resources and Materials:
Cells (Plants and/or Animal-based on curriculum needs)
Organelles (various- again based on curriculum needs. Examples, Nucleus, Vacuole, Chloroplasts, Lysosomes, Endoplasmic Reticulum…)
Standards/ “I can” Statements
Given size constraints and Fab Lab computer software, I can design a model of an organelle based on research.
I can use fab lab machines to physically create my organelle model.
I can use my research and model to present the function of my organelle as a piece of the larger cell function.
Next Generation Science Standards Covered:
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. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the cell functioning as a whole system and the primary role of identified parts of the cell, specifically the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment of organelle structure/function relationships is limited to the cell wall and cell membrane. Assessment of the function of the other organelles is limited to their relationship to the whole cell. The assessment does not include the biochemical function of cells or cell parts.]
I will typically give students an introduction to cells and organelles. My students really enjoy watching an interactive video such as The Amoeba Sisters Introduction to Cells: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IlzKri08kk
Set up research criteria for your students based on grade level.
Assign size constraints for the size of organelles to be created.
Place students into pairs (or groups if desired) and assign each group a unique organelle.
Allow students’ time to research the appearance and function of their organelle using your criteria.
Allow students time to design their organelle using software compatible with your fab lab machines. (Tinker Cad is a free online program that can be used with 3-D printers for example.)
Students will move into the fab lab as they are ready to print. Ensure fab lab manager is there to assist students with printing.
Closing: Final Day, students will present their research and model to the class. Students will add their model to a larger model of a classroom cell.
Pre-assessment: Introduction to cells and organelle terms to understand any background knowledge students have obtained.
Formative: Teacher questioning during research and planning phase.
Summative: Final presentations as set by your criteria