Return of the CELL-ebration

This past Friday marked the return of the CELL-ebration to SLS. In a matter of days, the traditional biology classroom will be transformed into a fully functioning cell, complete with a balloon-streamer phospholipid bilayer and shower curtain nucleus.

Dr. Higgins started the project at his former school in Alabama and brought it to St. Luke’s when he came as a new teacher last year. This will be his 9th CELL-ebration, and he is looking forward to a few distinct differences: “For one, we have a new space. The entire St. Luke’s community will be able to see the students’ work as they walk into school every day.”

In addition, this year, every section of freshman Biology will devote their class periods to building the cell throughout this week. Students have been broken up into groups that focus on the construction of specific organelles, and will all work together in the end to act out the synthesis of a protein.

Claire Wilson and Robert Smock, members of the ribosome, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and rough endoplasmic reticulum group, have been working to build ribosomes out of plastic cups, pipe cleaners, and ping-pong balls. “It really helps us to learn about the cell without sticking to the textbook,” said Wilson, “It’s interactive and helps me to work with other classes.” Smock agreed, saying “It requires the whole class to cooperate and collaborate.”

The project as a whole is meant to foster creativity and communication within the students. Higgins explained, saying “We are limited by what you can see through a microscope. This project is all about experience- learning by doing.”

In addition, the freshman students will receive help from members of the AP Biology class who will volunteer during their free periods to help answer questions about cell function and structure.

In the end, students will be graded on both their cooperation within and understanding of the project. As a departure from the traditional lecture setting, the CELL-ebration will be a powerful vessel through which students can learn about the crucial processes that occurs inside of them in a new and exciting way.

“I love to see that point when my students finally see how it all interacts,” Higgins said, “It’s like a collective light switch goes off, and that’s truly amazing to watch.”

The final project will be presented on E period on Thursday 10/30 or D, C, B, A, H, or G periods on Friday 10/31. All members of the SLS community are encouraged to drop in and see the incredible set-up that the freshmen have created!


–Monika Gabriele, Editor-in-Chief

Posted by on October 28, 2014. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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