Cellular Structure Lesson Plan + Free Music Video, Worksheet, Activity

Grade level: 5th-9th grade


Total lesson time: 45 minutes

This lesson consists of:

  • 1-minute opening
  • 10-minute introduction of material
  • 15-minute guided practice
  • 15-minute small group practice
  • 4-minute closing

At the end of this lesson:

  • Students will be able to identify the parts of a cell.
  • Students will be able to differentiate between a plant cell and an animal cell.
  • Students will be able to read a scientific text and answer questions about its topic using details ad evidence from the text.
  • Students will be able to explain the role of organelles within cells.


1. Opening (1-minute)

Begin the lesson by discussing cells within our bodies, what they do and how important they are.

Sample dialogue: “All living organisms are made up of thousands and thousands of tiny little things, that help their bodies function. Those tiny things are called cells. People have about 200 different types of cells in their bodies that help with all of our functions and keeping us alive. The average human body has 37.2 trillion cells inside!

Although these cells are very tiny, inside of each cell are many different structures that all work together. Today we will be learning what those parts are and how they work.”

2. Introduction to Cellular Structure (10-minutes)

Pass out one Cell Diagram Worksheet and one Post-it note to every student.

Then introduce the topic of cellular structure by playing The Parts of a Cell Song. For the first viewing, have students watch the video and write down any questions they have.

Sample Dialogue: “To start learning about the parts of the cell, we are going to watch a music video about it. I’ve given you each a post-it note. While we watch and listen to the video, if you have any questions write them down on your post-it so we can make sure they are answered by the end of class.”

Play the video. Give students an additional thirty seconds to finish writing their questions.

For the second viewing, have students complete their cell diagrams as best as they can.

Sample Dialogue: “Now we will watch the video again, but while you watch try to fill in the cell diagrams on your worksheet. Use the name of each part of the cell.”

Show students the video at least once more. While they watch they should be working to fill in their diagrams.

Afterward, review their diagrams and labelling as a class, by labelling an anchor chart with similar diagrams. Have students help identify and label each cell part.


3. Guided Practice (15-minutes)

Make sure you’ve given each student the Parts of a Cell article. During the guided practice, teacher will explain the roles and jobs of the parts of a cell.

Sample Dialogue: “Being able to identify the parts of a cell is important but so is knowing what they do. We are going to read an article to learn about what the different parts of the cell do.”

Read the article together as a class – or have students read independently and then come back together to answer the short answer questions and use evidence from the text to support the answers. While reading the article and answering the questions, teacher should regularly reference the anchor chart with the parts of a cell.


4. Small Group Practice (15-minutes)

*depending on time, you have the option to turn this into a multi-day project or homework assignment

Make sure you’ve given each student the Cell Comparison Lab Worksheet. If available, also pass out pre-made microscopic slides for cells: plant, blood, root, amoeba, and skin. If not available, show pictures of these cells on overhead screen or provide each student with printed images.

During independent practice, students will compare and contrast different types of cells. Students will try to identify the parts of the cell they can see, and compare the different cells they look at.

Sample Dialogue: “Now you are going to work with a partner to complete a cellular structure lab. Follow the instructions on your lab assignment to compare and contrast different types of cells. See if you can identify different cell parts as well. I will be around to help and answer any questions you might have.”

Teacher will circulate, address questions, and provide guidance while students complete the lab work.


5. Closing (5-minutes)

Review what students learned today.

Using the anchor charts, put Post-its over the labels and have students identify the parts of the cell again. Listen to the Jam Campus song one more time, encouraging students to review their original post-it note question. Afterward, see if any questions remain.

Sample Dialogue: “Now that we have reviewed the parts of the cell again, let’s listen to the music video one last time. While we listen, check out the post-it note with the question you wrote at the beginning of class. Is that still something you aren’t sure about or have you found your answer through class?”

Show video. Have students ask any final questions. If possible, have other students answer.


Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.5: Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).