MS-LS1-1 & MS-LS1-2: Cell Structure Card Sort, Cell Diagram and Vocabulary Chart


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Card sorts are amazing at creating meaningful conversations between peers, reinforcing concepts and an excellent review! This card sort is a perfect scaffold or front-load for NGSS MS-LS1-1 and MS-LS1-1, which is describing the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function. I typically use card sorts for a review the class meeting before the assessment.

I print 8 sets of “Cell Structure Card Sort” PDF’s and cut them into individual cards. Each set of cards go into a small zip lock bag.

I print one “Vocabulary Chart” and one “Cell Diagram” per student.

Once we start, I tell the students they cannot spread them out all over the table. I have one person from each group read one card at a time aloud. This creates discussion and less chaos. Ideally, you’d want them to get the sorting correct on the first try, however let them get them wrong and discuss the rationale for the way they sorted the cards. When everyone is done, I put the key up on the screen, we discuss why they had difficulties sorting them correctly, addressed misconceptions and then they can sort them correctly.

Once all group’s cards are sorted correctly, students fill in the Cell Diagram and the Vocabulary Chart.

The card sort, diagram and the vocabulary chart take approximately 50-60 minutes.

 This resource includes the following:

-14 Cards with pictures of each organelle.

-Card Sort Key

-Detailed Teacher Notes

-Cell Diagram and Key

-Cell Structure Vocabulary Chart in PDF, Word and Publisher versions

This Activity includes the following NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI): LS1.A:  Structure and Function

• All living things are made up of cells, which is the smallest unit that can be said to be alive. An organism may consist of one single cell (unicellular) or many different numbers and types of cells (multicellular). (MS-LS1-1)

• Within cells, special structures are responsible for particular functions, and the cell membrane forms the boundary that controls what enters and leaves the cell. (MS-LS1-2)

This Activity includes the following NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (SEP):

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Developing and Using ModelsAnalyzing and Interpreting DataConstructing Explanations Engaging in Argument from EvidenceObtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

This Activity includes the following NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts (CCC): Systems and System Models

· Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems. (MS-LS1-3)

Structure and Function

· Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (MS-LS1-2)

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