Uncovering the building blocks of life

Mahak Katyal

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein

This saying by Albert Einstein holds true for teaching-learning any concept. A child can cram anything but it is important that he/she understands it. Today, we will talk about one such concept that students often tend to mug up.

Cell is one the main topics that is taught in grade 8 and above. It forms the base for learning the more complicated concepts such as the different types of tissues and their functions, DNA, and biotechnology. Hence, it becomes very important that cell is taught with utmost clarity.

Having said that, cell is one such concept that involves dealing with a lot of scientific jargon. When taught just by reading out from the textbook without any dialogue between the teacher and students, students often get bored, lose interest, and hence do not understand the concept well.

What is the role of the teacher in such a case then? The teacher should become the facilitator of knowledge and try and make the class as interesting as possible. This article intends to give you a set of activities that you can use in the classroom to teach the concept.

Before talking about how to deal with this concept in a fun and interactive manner, let us learn about the NCERT content requirements for this concept.

Digging into the NCERT textbook
Fig: An animal cell

Grade 8 is the first time that cell structure is introduced in detail in the science textbook. Before that in primary classes, a student learns the basic definition of a cell, i.e., cells are the building blocks of life. In grade 8, a student is expected to understand what a cell is and know the names of scientists who discovered it. The chapter then talks about how some organisms are made up of one cell while others are made up of multiple cells. It further elaborates upon the parts of a cell and the difference between a plant and an animal cell.

The author is a Science Communicator for Brainwave Magazine with experience in designing science curriculum and lesson plans for various schools. She has written science stories for kids. She maintains a blog at https://pouringminds.wordpress.com/. She can be reached at mahakkatyal18@gmail.com.

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