SC.6.L.14.4

Compare and contrast the structure and function of major organelles of plant and animal cells, including cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 6
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
Big Idea: Organization and Development of Living Organisms -

A. All living things share certain characteristics.

B. The scientific theory of cells, also called cell theory, is a fundamental organizing principle of life on Earth.

C. Life can be organized in a functional and structural hierarchy.

D. Life is maintained by various physiological functions essential for growth, reproduction, and homeostasis.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: MC item(s)

  • Clarification :
    Students will compare and/or contrast the structure and/or function of major organelles of plant and animal cells.
  • Content Limits :
    Items assessing cellular structures are limited to the cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles.
  • Stimulus Attributes :
    Scenarios will require a comparison or contrast of organelles in plant and/or animal cells.
  • Response Attributes :
    None specified
  • Prior Knowledge :
    This benchmark grouping is foundational. These concepts have not been introduced in the NGSSS prior to this grade-level grouping.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: Plant cells are different from animal cells. The diagram below identifies four different structures in a plant cell.

    compared to the structures in an animal cell, which of the following structures is found only in a plant cell?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002040: M/J Comprehensive Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2002050: M/J Comprehensive Science 1, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2000010: M/J Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
7820015: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002055: M/J Comprehensive Science 1 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
7920030: Fundamental Integrated Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2013 - 2015, 2015 - 2017 (course terminated))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.6.L.14.Su.2: Recognize that there are smaller parts in all living things, too small to be seen without magnification, called cells.
SC.6.L.14.Pa.3: Identify basic needs of plants and animals.
SC.6.L.14.In.4: Recognize that plant and animal cells have different parts and each part has a function.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Educational Game

Sheppard Software's Cell Games:

This site includes a tutorial and follow-up interactive review game on the structures of each of three cell types: animal, plant, and bacterial.

Type: Educational Game

Lesson Plans

Organelles to Scale:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses organelles in terms of their size, characteristics, and functions. This article, designed to support reading in the content area, "shrinks" the student to put the size of certain organelles in perspective with familiar objects/places. It also describes the characteristics and functions of the nucleus, certain membranes, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, and the mitochondria. This lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cell Safari: A Tour of Animal and Plant Cells:

Students will compare animal and plant cells in four different stations with hands-on activities, technology applications, and accountable conversations.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Day in the Life as Oscar the Organelle:

In this lesson, students will create a story as if they are a cell organelle going through its day. In this activity, they will show how they interact with their own organelle family or other organelles in a cell. In this two day lesson, students will create a labeled model of a plant and animal cell and write a story.

Type: Lesson Plan

Comparing and Contrasting Plant and Animal Cells:

In this lesson, students will use their prior knowledge of organelle structure and function to compare and contrast plant and animal cells. This lesson includes teacher-facilitated discussion, using a PowerPoint and paper-and-pencil strategies.

Type: Lesson Plan

"Me & My Cells : An Introductory Look at Plant & Animal Cells":

This lesson is intended to make students more knowledgeable about plant and animals, their functions and relevance in our everyday lives. Additionally, a tactile exploratory exercise is presented to reinforce knowledge acquisition.

Type: Lesson Plan

Animal Cells And Plant Cells: Just How Different Are We?:

This resource provides students with a web based interactive animal cell and plant cell which they use to learn about the different parts of each cell. Students will summarize information about the structure and function about the organelles required for this standard which are: cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, chloroplast, vacuole and mitochondria.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Cell is like . . .:

This lesson gives students an overall concept on how to compare and contrast organelles by through an analogy using the parts of the human body.

Type: Lesson Plan

Edible Cell Analysis:

In this lesson, students compare and contrast the major structures found in plant and animal cells. The will develop drawings and look at prepared slides to get a better understanding of the organelles and function of these cells. Then, students then construct edible models of plant or animal cells, justifying their use of materials to represent various cell components. Student directions and rubric are provided. They will then present these ideas to the class or small groups. Finally, they will take a Quiz (final assessment) to determine if they have mastered this benchmark.

Generally, this is a four day plan (60 minute periods). Day 1 - Is a good day to grab the students attention with a bell ringer about the importance of cells, introduce the organelles and their functions, and complete the microscope lab. Day 2 - Students may construct their drawings and explore the animated cell activity. Day 3 - (Usually a Monday, so students have time over the weekend to gather their materials and make their edible cells) edible cells and their presentations are due. Day 4 - Quiz.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cell Parts and Functions:

This lesson introduces students to the structure and functions of organelles by asking students to find information for an organelle/cell structure, then teach that information to peers. Students then use this knowledge to create a series of analogies likening a cell to a factory.

Type: Lesson Plan

Taking a Look Inside of Cells:

After researching cell organelles, students collaboratively compare and contrast the structures in a plant and an animal cell. They then individually create a plant or animal cell model which communicates their knowledge of the structure and function of each organelle.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Cell as a System:

This is a complete lesson plan designed to deepen student understanding of the major organelles of animal cells and the way in which cells function as individual systems. The lesson plan develops the analogy of cells as factories in order to achieve this understanding. Detailed supplemental student reading materials are included in this lesson plan as is a worksheet for students to complete (an answer key is also included).

Type: Lesson Plan

Cell Parts and "The Real World" Collage:

In this activity students will:
Identify various organelles of the animal cell (nucleus, ER, Golgi apparatus, ribosomes, vacuole, lysosome,) etc.,
State the function of each organelle
Identify each structure on a visual cell diagram
relate each part to a functioning object in the real world

Type: Lesson Plan

Cells 1: Make a Model Cell :

This lesson is the first of two-part series on cells. In Cells 1: Make a Model Cell, students will compare a plant and animal cell, and then make a model of a cell. They will select items to represent various cell structures and justify their choices by describing how the items they have chosen represent the actual parts of a cell. Prior to this lesson, students should have at least been introduced to cells, including the basic differences between plant and animal cells.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Cell-A-Bration of Life:

Students will look at cells of plants and animals and identify the organelles.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cell Play:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the parts and functions of a cell by creating a game. The game can take any form: written, oral etc... Some examples would be cell jeopardy, cell hang man, cell trivia etc...

Type: Lesson Plan

Understanding Cell Membranes through Model Evaluation:

In this lesson, students consider two models of the cell membrane, evaluating them for accuracy in light of text-provided information.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Investigating Plant and Animal Cells:

Compare and contrast plant and animal cells in this interactive tutorial. You'll learn about the structure and function of major organelles of cells, including the cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Teaching Ideas

Strawberry DNA Extraction:

DNA extraction, for your choice of strawberries or jellyfish.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Clay Cells:

Mold models and minds with this cell modeling lesson.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Teaching Ideas

The Function of Cell Organelles:

The lesson plan was created by:
Debbie Yglesias, Debbie Schoen, and Merle Bonner
Vernon Middle School
Vernon, Florida
Washington County School District
The lesson helps students understand the basic cell structure and function of organelles.

Type: Teaching Idea

Travel Brochure for a Cell:

Students produce a travel brochure that describes a plant or animal cell as if it were a large exhibit/amusement park. They must accurately describe/draw/explain organelles (attractions) and their functions.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resource

The Amazing World Inside a Human Cell:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. This article describes some of the organelles in a cell and explains their functions. It takes students "inside" the cell, by "shrinking" the students and giving the students perspective to the size of these organelles by comparing them to familiar objects.

Type: Text Resource

Video/Audio/Animation

Coffee to Carbon:

This site explores the relationship of the size of the cell and many other common objects, molecules, and atoms. It is an interactive website that shows the scale of the objects in relations to each other. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Investigating Plant and Animal Cells:

Compare and contrast plant and animal cells in this interactive tutorial. You'll learn about the structure and function of major organelles of cells, including the cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles. 

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Investigating Plant and Animal Cells:

Compare and contrast plant and animal cells in this interactive tutorial. You'll learn about the structure and function of major organelles of cells, including the cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Coffee to Carbon:

This site explores the relationship of the size of the cell and many other common objects, molecules, and atoms. It is an interactive website that shows the scale of the objects in relations to each other. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Clay Cells:

Mold models and minds with this cell modeling lesson.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea