Cells are the fundamental unit of life. They require a supply of energy and materials. All life forms on our planet are based on this common key component.

Version for ages 12 to 15

The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of life. It can reproduce, breath, develop and produce a variation of products. Plants and animals are made of cells that form organs and systems. Cells require energy which they find through the processing of organic and/or inorganic matter.

Version for ages 9 to 12

Every living organism is made of cells. There are many types of cells which have different purposes.


Breaking down of the Cells and Life Forms Big Idea of Science

Intermediate ideas of Science Small Ideas of Science

Structure and function of cells

Cells are the basic unit of life. They can either be eukaryotic, containing organelles and a nucleus where the genetic material is stored, or prokaryotic containing the DNA, proteins and metabolites all together in the cytoplasm. Cells have metabolism and can transport substances such as proteins and lipids to the inside or the outside of the cell. Each cell can develop to have a specific function in the organism. While some cells are programmed to build and repair tissues and organs, others can have a role in the protection against diseases, among many other functions.

Growth and development of organisms

Organisms can be unicellular or multicellular. While unicellular organisms are made of only one cell, multicellular organisms are more complex and consist of several cells forming organs and organ systems. These organisms grow through the multiplication and specialization of these cells. Microorganisms are usually unicellular. Some of these are parasites and can cause diseases to other organisms.