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The Function of Organelles

This exploration can be done at home or in the school building. Students are required to research the functions of major organelles and then take photos of things around the building that can relate to each organelle. They must then justify why they chose the photos they did.

Cells are complex systems that contain various specialized substructures known as organelles. These organelles are “specialized” because each of them perform a different function that each contributes to keeping the cell in balance, or homeostasis. In other words, think of them as workers along an assembly line, each responsible for a single task to build the product of homeostasis. Without these various organelles, cells would not be able to carry out important chemical processes such as providing genetic information, producing energy, or assembling proteins.

Your home is also a system, whose operation also depends on various specialized components. In this exploration, you will relate the functions of organelles to the functions of household structures/items around you. For instance, lysosomes and peroxisomes in eukaryotic cells act like garbage disposals. Just as a disposal breaks down unwanted food and waste, lysosomes and peroxisomes contain digestive enzymes that break down toxic materials to get rid of.

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Student Handout
Example of Student Work