Project inflates students’ knowledge of the human cell

OASIS students Caleb, Andrew and Zach (from left) sit in a giant human cell created by the five-member high school biology class led by teacher Dwayne Abrahams. The balloon-like compartment expands to almost 6 feet tall when fully inflated. The items used to represent the different parts within the cell, including the round inner-tube “nucleus” in the foreground, were brought from home and then identified with labels. Abrahams said he challenged students to think big when they talked about creating a model of a cell. To create the outer membrane, they used a large sheet of plastic wrap from a local lumberyard. Their biggest challenge was developing a light-weight doorway to the cell that would be strong enough to prevent air from escaping and enable the membrane to remain inflated. Class members solved the challenge by adding a cardboard backing to the plastic-sheet door. Abrahams said the project not only helped students retain the information they were learning about cells, but also to practice communication skills as they led elementary students on guided tours. OASIS is operated by the Marion County Special Education Cooperative.

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