Anatomy and Physiology – Chapter one: Cells

Being a nurse by profession, I have been eagerly awaiting our study of anatomy.  This book is one that we will languish in, take our time over and,I’m sure, thoroughly enjoy!  (I mean, who doesn’t like learning about themselves?).  We treated ourselves this time and bought the note-book to go with our studies.  Personally I hate the constrictions prepared curriculums put on us, but this notebook has extra activities and suggestions for further study which to my mind is well worth the money.

The first thing we did was read the chapter aloud.  I did this over two or three sessions.  I had the children narrate back to me what I had read.  This is helpful first in ensuring that they listen and secondly making sure they heard and understood.  At the end of each read aloud session I had them watch an episode of Newton’s workshop:


These were so worth the money we paid for them.  They are a little old fashioned but are Christian in content and so very clear, helping the children understand sometimes complex subjects.  L9, after watching the DNA one, wanted to write an essay on genetics; she was so excited to understand why our family had different coloured hair and eye colour.

At the end of the chapter we went through the narration questions again, for revision.  In each chapter there are ‘Try This!’ ideas, all of which we attempted.  There are many things included in the notebook, if you are inclined that way.  Again, I’d rather have the freedom to decide myself what is important to write about.  We do love the lapbook pieces however, and their succinctness is perfect for science.


We do A LOT of writing for our history studies.  For science, understanding and application is more important.  So I tend to go overboard with hands on activities, reinforcing their knowledge and understanding that way, and go underboard with writing activities!

For our reinforcement activities, we started by making our own edible cell.  Now let me tell you, anything remotely edible is a huge hit in this household!

Mixing the jelly cytoplasm
After the jelly was set we started placing in the sweets that represented each organelle
L9 (in her viking hat)
C9 cutting her jelly
L9’s cell
T10 and C9’s cell
A close up

Next up we decided to make a model of our cell city using different coloured play dough( I can’t believe I’m 38 and get to have so much fun!!):

Just loved this!

And with labels:


We discussed the fact that an egg was a simple version of a single cell and that the yoke was the nucleus.  We soaked two eggs in vinegar over 24 hrs, rinsed them and resoaked for another 24 hrs and rerinsed.  I really need to take a course in photography!


The egg shell fizzing away
Washing the eggs
Resoaking – the eggs are now white instead of brown

This dissolved the solid egg shell, leaving behind the cell membrane, enclosed around the ‘cytoplasm’ (egg white) and the ‘nucleus’ (yolk).  We talked about the membrane being semi permeable, letting only certain substances through the pores.  We then placed one egg in pure water and the other in heavily salted water and hypothesised about the results.

One egg soaking in salty water and one in pure water
Not a huge difference, the one on the left (salty) was slightly smaller than the one on the right (pure water)

We also did a bit of colouring in using this book:

Our three cells, all coloured in

I had also perused Amazon and came across some cell organelle slides.  We had a screened microscope that we were blessed to find at a charity shop, so we used that to look at the slides:

Looking at some cytology cells on a screen microscope
Preparing the cytology slides
The flash spoilt the picture a little, but this is the DNA slide

I always, no matter what we study, beg steal or borrow (actually usually I just buy off Amazon!) lots of books to read for reinforcement.  I think reading around a subject puts it in context of the bigger picture.

My gorgeous son


And just for a bit of fun and a taster of things to come I let them have a play with this set:



The very last thing we did was watch the bonus episode  on the cell on my son’s ‘The Story of Science’ DVD:

Bones next!

18 responses to “Anatomy and Physiology – Chapter one: Cells”

    • We’re keeping the pizza and biscuit (in the dvd they make a huge biscuit cell) for revision whilst doing the other chapters. I saw your skeleton made with all the food- very cool!

  1. I love the work you do with the kids. I wish I’d had so much fun at school. Reinforcing learning with practical activities is the way to go!

  2. I’m slowly pulling away from our bound curriculums too. I love our Apologia and our history ones, but I’m growing to dislike our history notebook.
    I’m with you on loving the Apologia one (at least the Junior, haven’t seen the older one) because it’s rather freeform in what they ask you to fill out.
    I love the play dough cells and all of your different ideas.

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  3. What an amazing study! I am so excited to teach Anatomy. We already do some reading about the major organs of the body, but it would be awesome to have a microscope! It makes me want to do a lesson tomorrow. Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library.

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