Cells and Organisms: Lesson Plan

Learn about the cell—the essential structural and functional unit of all human beings—and the part it plays in the hierarchical organization of multicellular organisms.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 7.L.1.2 — Compare the structures and functions of plant and animal cells, including major organelles (cell membrane, cell wall, nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria and vacuoles). 
  • 7.L.1.3 — Summarize the hierarchical organization of multi-cellular organisms from cells to tissues, to organs, to systems and to organisms.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson students will be able to:

  • List the major organelles of animal and plant cells
  • Describe the basic functions of cell organelles
  • Summarize the hierarchical organization of multicellular organisms from cells to tissues, organs, systems and organisms

Essential Vocabulary

  • Cell
  • Tissue
  • Organ
  • Organelle
  • Nucleus
  • Mitochondria
  • Cytoplasm
  • Vacuole
  • Cell wall
  • Nuclear membrane
  • Cell membrane
  • Chloroplast


Students will view the NC Science animation Cell Structure, and fill in the table on the attached PDF.



Have the students investigate body organization and homeostasis further and complete the Frostbite Video Body Organization and Homeostasis worksheet. An answer key is provided here.

Online resources for students to use include:


Students can view the NC Science video Biologic Logic, and take notes on the following questions:

  1. What is a “cell soup”?
  2. How do researchers at Biogen “convince” cells to produce a therapeutic molecule?


Working in teams or on their own, students can create a visual or multimedia analogous representation for human body organization. Remind and/or instruct students that an analogy compares two things that may not be a lot alike, but do share a similar function. In this activity, the layers of the human body organization will be compared to the structures found in a city, a school, a forest, an ecosystem or even the world. Students can also come up with their own thing/place for the comparison.

For example, comparing a human to a city, a cell is like a brick because they are both building blocks for big things.

Brick: Cell

House: Tissue

City Block: Organ

Neighborhood: Organ System 

Whole City: Body/Organism