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4 Tutorials that teach Cells: The Structural and Functional Units of Life
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Cells: The Structural and Functional Units of Life
Next Generation: MS.LS1.1 MS.LS1.2 MS.LS1.2 NGSS

Cells: The Structural and Functional Units of Life

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will illustrate the structure and function of the cell.

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Cells are the structural units of life.  All living things are made up of tiny cells.  In the human body, different types of cells specialize to perform different functions; humans have skin cells, lung cells, brain cells, and hair cells.


The cells found in the human body are called eukaryotic cells.  Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus which is a compartment that stores genetic information.  Another characteristic of eukaryotic cells is that they contain their own organ-like structures called organelles.  Organelles carry out functions for the cell much like organs in a person.  


Bacteria cells are a different type of cell called a prokaryotic cell.  Prokaryotes are the oldest type of cells.  These ancient cells don't have a nucleus to contain their genetic information and are much smaller than eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells are almost always single celled organisms and don't make up larger organisms like humans.  


Eukaryotic Cell

Prokaryotic Cell

Cells: The Structural and Functional Units of Life