Lesson Plan on Cell Structure and Function

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Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Start this cell structure and function lesson plan by explaining to your students that all living things are made up of living cells. These cells are so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye. Let students know that the evolution of life started with a single celled organism, some of which still exist today. Explain the cell theory as defined below.

Cell Theory

  • All living things are made up one or more cells.
  • Cells are the basic unit (living) of structure and function of all living things.
  • Cells can be made only by other cells.

On the black board, you will draw and label two types of cells. The prokaryotic cell will be represented by a bacteria cell. The eukaryotic cell will be represented by a plant cell. Include the features below in your drawing.

Eukaryotic: Plant Cell

  • Cell wall
  • Plasma membrane
  • Nucleus
  • Nucleolus
  • Ribosome
  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)
  • Rough ER
  • Smooth ER
  • Golgi aparatus
  • Lysosome
  • Vacuole and vesicle
  • Peroxisome
  • Mitochondrion
  • Chloroplast
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Cilia and Flagella


  • Cytoplasm
  • Nucleiod
  • Plasma membrane
  • Ribosomes
  • Cell wall
  • Thylakoids
  • Slime layer

As you write label the cells, discuss the function of each part that is labeled. Ask students to write down the labels that you have on the board as well as the functions. Then ask the questions below as students write their answers on a piece of paper. The answer will be either “eukaryotic”, “prokaryotic” or “both”.

  1. This organism is a single cell organism. (prokaryotic)
  2. This organism has DNA. (both)
  3. Has multiple features of DNA. (eukaryotic)
  4. Bacteria. (prokaryotic)
  5. Humans are made of these. (eukaryotic)
  6. Has a slime layer. (prokaryotic)
  7. Contains a nucleus. (eukaryotic)
  8. Has a plasma membrane. (both)
  9. Contains a single “loop” of DNA. (prokaryotic)
  10. The most primitive form of cell. (prokaryotic)

After reviewing this information with students, inform them that the word prokaryotic, translated from its root terms actually means “before a nucleus”. Thus, if they can simply remember what the prokaryotic cell is made up of, all other cellular items will naturally belong to the eukaryotic cell.