• Topics
  • Scientific Visualization Objectives
  • Biology Objectives
  • Tools
  • Teacher Background
  • References
  • Student Assignment

  • Evaluation Criteria

    Purpose:  To create simple 2D concept driven visualizations of cells and cell organelles and organize them into an effective presentation.

    Overview:  Teams of students will create  diagrams of different cells, then make each organelle in the diagram a link to an expanded diagram of that organelle. The diagrams will be integrated into presentation of each cell type and its important organelles.

        Scientific Visualization:  Design concepts, 
                                            2D concept driven visualizations,

        Biology:  Cells and cell processes 

    Plant Cell
    NC Scientific and Technical Visualization Objectives:

    3.00 Demonstrate and interpret basic computer skills and techniques.
           -Transport data among applications
    5.00 Apply 2D visualization techniques.
    5.01 Design and evaluate a simple visualization
    5.02 Produce computer based concept visualization projects

    NC  Biology Goals and Objectives
    Goal 1:  Develop an understanding  of the physical, chemical and cellular basis of life.
        1.02  Describe the structure and function of cell organelles.

    Students will need a 2D drawing package such as CorelDraw  and a presentation editor - either a web based format or powerpoint presentation will work well.

    If a scanner is available students will be able to include scanned photomicrographs and create overlay diagrams for these.

    If  web tools are available students can also include images copied from the web.  Remind them that these images must be cited properly.  (The web site source and date when they got it must be listed in their bibliography and at the bottom of each image.)

    Ideally microscopes with video capture capability would be available in order for student to observe and capture images from real cells.

    Teacher Background

    The cell is the fundamental unit of living things.  Organisms can be single or multicellular.  School textbooks usually have diagrams of  generalized and idealized plant and animal cells.  A variety of different cell types are usually shown including neurons, muscle cells and blood cells.  Textbooks also have diagrams of single celled organisms such  as bacteria and protozoans.   More advanced textbooks and web sources are available with details of a wider variety of specialized cell types. Students with a strong background in Biology should be asked to create presentations of a more specialized cell type.  Student presentations should include an overview  diagram and discussion of the cell type they have been assigned.  The diagram should contain embedded links to a more detailed diagrams and  discussion of various organelles.  The teacher or students should choose the audience that each presentation is to be prepared for.  For example a presentation on a "typical" animal or plant cell for a biology class or a middle school science class, a presentation on e. coli or bacterial cells in general  for restaurant workers, a presentation on blood cells for the Red Cross to show to blood donors,  or a presentation on muscle cells for an athletic meeting.  The emphasis should be on using graphics to convey  information.

    First,  the students should do some preliminary research, looking for cell pictures and diagrams in textbooks and on the web and looking at actual cells through microscopes if possible.  Then the teacher might ask students to compare the various diagrams they found.  Different diagrams will  illustrate different levels of detail. Usually details of cell organelles are not included except when they are the focus of the lesson which may give the false impression that some cell types don't have some organelles which are actually present.  The teacher can ask students to consider why high school textbooks usually start with a generalized cell that doesn't resemble any actual cell.  These questions can generate a discussion of the role of simplifying and detail in scientific illustrations.  This will be a significant issue for students to consider as they create their own illustrations.

    Many biology textbooks have poorly labeled electron micrographs of cells.  Students can scan these micrographs into their machine and then use Corel or other package to create a labeled overlay or a color coded diagram to help other students interpret these micrographs.

    This is an excellent project for students to work on in teams.  They will need to work together to consider their overall presentation, which organelles, what level of detail and how they will unify their presentation (i.e. choice of fonts and styles).  At the same time the number of different organelles make the project too time consuming to be created  individually  and create an easy way to break up the workload.

    This is a good project to practice the use of links.  Power point limits the amount of space per page but related information can be put on linked pages..  A power point presentation can be linear or can be arranged so that the viewer follows links of interest.   Web pages can be very long  with links helping the viewer navigate within a page. Long pages make it easier for the user to print out the information.  However, longer pages take much longer to load and can lose their coherence.  Students need  the opportunity to experiment with different formats.

    It will be necessary for the teacher to adjust the evaluation criteria to the equipment and software available.  Basic evaluation criteria are listed below.

    Specialized cell types

    nerve cell (neuron)
    muscle cell
    red blood cell
    white blood cell
    pancreas cell
    liver cell
    kidney cell
    skin cell

    guard cell
    palisade mesophyll cell
    root hair cell
    sieve tube elements and companion cells


    Any Biology textbook.

    MIT's Biology Hypertext - chapter on cells.  Written for college freshmen with great diagrams and information about cells and cell organelles.
    Found at:   http://esg-www.mit.edu:8001/bio/cb/cbdir.html

    A somewhat more advanced look at cell biology from the University of Texas with lots of pictures.

    An on line Biology book with good working animations is at http://gened.emc.maricopa.edu/bio/bio181/BIOBK/BioBookTOC.html

    A link to links this page has links to many resources on the cell: http://vl.bwh.harvard.edu/general_cell_biology.shtml

    Blood cell information and pictures:  http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/blood/blood.htm#3

    More about blood cells and blood donation:  http://www.psbc.org/ed/wel.htm

    More about plant cells:  http://www.purchon.co.uk/science/plant.html

    Some cute graphics explaining some cell concepts, might give students some presentation ideas.  However this is also a useful site to critique as some of the materials cuteness obscures rather than clarifies the science.  :  http://www.eurekascience.com/ICanDoThat/plant_cells.htm

    Some good plant cell information and photomicrographs:  http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/HORT300/cell1.htm

    There are many great web sites available and more appearing all the time:  Try http://google.com to search for the particular cell type you are interested in.

    Student Assignment Sheet                                                                        Name______________________

    Design a presentation to illustrate a particular cell type to a particular audience.  Your presentation should include a diagram of your cell type with embedded links to at least 6 different cell organelles, components or functions for which you will include more detailed diagrams, and other information.  At the end of your presentation you must include a bibliography listing your information sources.

    Graphics requirements (minimums) :

    electronic presentation

    1 cell diagram
    6 linked diagrams


    photomicrographs copied from web or scanned from textbook
    pictures or video taken in class


    1.  Set Up

         Select a group leader. Turn in his /her name to your teacher.

    2.  Develop understanding of your topic:

        Research cells and associated topics:
            Use available books and other resources to find images and information about the type of cell you will present.

    3.  Plan your presentation

          Develop a storyboard for your overall presentation. Turn in to teacher.
          Develop a plan of action and divide up the responsibilities for your group.
              List the group members and which part of the project each will be responsible for. Turn in to teacher.

    4.  Execute your plan

         Set up overall slide presentation or web page.
         Work on graphics and and insert into presentation.
         Take digital photos or scanned images, add labels, insert into presentation.
         Link the various parts of the presentation.

    5.  Review Your Progress

         Your group should now preview your presentation as a whole making sure that it all works, fits together coherently, and meets all the project
         requirements.  Make any needed improvements.

    6.  Present Your Project

         Present the project to the class.
         Ask the class for their comments and suggestions.
         Revise based on class suggestions.
         If possible, present to intended audience.
         Save your project on electronic media. Turn in to teacher.

    7.  Evaluate Your Work

         As a group write a reflection explaining at least three strengths of your project, what problems you had to overcome to produce it and detailing
         what you would change about it if you could.  This should be word processed and  no longer than 1 page.  Turn in to teacher.

    Due Dates:
    Group Leader:  ___________
    Story Board:     ___________
    Plan of Action:  ___________
    Presentation:     ___________
    Final Reflection:___________

     Group Members:  _______________________

    Cell Type ____________________________

    Audience ____________________________

    Presentation Software:___________________

    Evaluation Criteria:

     Success will be measured by the following criteria:
    project planning  and group coordination 5
    storyboards - at least 7  14
    main cell graphic    8
    links work  5
    cell organelle graphics - graphics clear - easy to see and understand,   good choice of colors, appropriate backgrounds 12
    science information correct  10
    labels clear, spelled correctly 6
    overall project (fits together, unified fonts and style,  holds viewers attention, conveys science concepts) 10
    Additional graphics added 10
    presentation to class (everyone in group participates, speaks clearly, faces audience, knows material)  10
    bibliography sources clearly cited, uses multiple sources 5
    reflection 5
    Total 100


    Possible extensions include using a video camera attachment to a microscope to capture images of live cells, creating overlay diagrams for photomicrographs found in textbooks, producing a CD ROM for Biology classes to use, and developing a class web site on cells.

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    eeh 5/23/00