Cells and Walls

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Using toothpicks, straws, or tubes of rolled up newspaper, learners create 3-dimensional models to illustrate the basic structure and function of the cell membrane, and place an object inside to represent the cell nucleus. This activity can be used in conjunction with the Observing Cells and Single-Cell Life activities from the same source. This activity can be found on pages 20-21 of the activity guide. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Worksheet – Cells & Walls
  • Newsprint
  • Toothpicks
  • Straws
  • Roll of masking tape


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, TERC, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • NASA, NAS5-26555
  • National Science Foundation, NSF 9730728