USDA Fellows Classroom Lesson 4

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Plant vs Animal Cell

What is a cell?

What is a cell?

  • The cell is the structural and functional unit of all living organisms, and is sometimes called the “building block of life”
    • Take nutrients
    • Carry out functions
    • Can reproduce ​
  1. What is unicellular vs multicellular ?​
  2. What is the difference between a plant cell and animal cell ?

Plant Cell

  • Cell wall: Surrounds the plasma membrane of plant cells and provides tensile strength and protection against mechanical and osmotic stress​
  • Chloroplast: Organelles that allow plants to capture the energy of the Sun in energy-rich molecules ​
  • Vacuoles: Fluid fill organelles that provide water and oxygen for photosynthesis ​
  • Stomata: microscopic pore structures in the leaf epidermis that allows for the CO2, oxygen, and water passage ​
    • Guard cells


  • What is photosynthesis ?​
    • Plants way of creating energy using water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide​
    • Production of glucoses (sugar)​
    • 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light energy → C6H12O6 (sugar) + 6O2
  • What is respiration ?
    • The process of plants using the energy they produced to grow​
    • C6H12O6 (glucose) + 6O2 (oxygen) –> 6CO2 (carbon dioxide) + 6H2O (water) + 32 ATP (energy)

Recap of the Scientific Method

Problem: What are we testing

Research: Look at the past work of others to see if this problem has already been tested

Formulate a hypothesis: identify variables and explain the expected outcome using an if/then statement

Design the experiment: Detail the materials and procedures that will be used. Identify the control variables.

Test the hypothesis: Follow the experimental design. make observation and collect data

Rhizotron Project: Weekly Observations

  1. Measure the total growth of roots and above ground biomass ​
  2. Sketch pictures of what you see ​
  3. Write down any observations ​
  4. If you have time, you can begin to write down your experimental design on the first page of your packet

Next Time…

  • Learn about the carbon cycle ​
  • Learn about other important plant nutrients ​
  • Continue collecting our observations from rhizotron project ​