Theory Play Share & Discuss

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Teach Cell Structure
with Cell Command

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Theory

Introduction

Continue playing Cell Command and learn about different kinds of human cells!

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: This lesson takes a look at different kinds of cells (blood, stem, bone) in the human body.
  • Play: Students continue playing Cell Command and learn more about cells.
  • Share & Discuss: These questions focus on cells and the playing experience.

Types of Cells

  • There are about 200 different types of cells in the human body. (source)
  • Even within specific tissues (such as blood, bone or muscle) there are many different types of cells.

Examples of cell types in the human body include

  • **skin cells
  • neurons
  • white blood cells
  • red blood cells
  • platelets

Each cell type has a different function and lifespan. Skin cells are all replaced within weeks, whereas neurons can last a lifetime!

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

White Blood Cells

  • White blood cells (leukocytes) defend the body by ingesting foreign materials and by producing antibodies.
  • Antibodies (immunoglobulin) are protective proteins in response to the presence of a foreign substance. They recognize and latch onto these substances, neutralizing them.
  • Although leukocytes can be found in circulation, most of them occur within tissues where they fight infections. Circulation is only for transit.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Red Blood Cells

  • Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are a component of blood and their primary function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. They also carry carbon dioxide to the lungs.
  • Notably, an erythrocyte has no nucleus.
  • Hemoglobin - a red, iron-rich protein in erythrocytes - allows the cell to bind oxygen and transport it.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Stem Cells

  • Stem cells are undifferentiated cells without any direct function of their own. This means that they can divide to produce offspring, and some of the offspring is undifferentiated and some differentiated.
  • In other words, stem cells have the potential to heal any damaged tissue, including nerve cell damage.
  • Diseases such as Parkinson's disease, heart disease and diabetes could potentially be cured with stem cells, but research is still very much ongoing.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Bone Cells

  • Humans have multiple types of bone cells, including osteoclast, osteocyte and osteoblast.
  • Humans have two types of bone tissue: compact bone (about 80% of the body) and cancellous bone (20%).
  • Compact bone is solid bone.
  • Cancellous bone is light, porous and encloses numerous large spaces. These spaces are filled with bone marrow and blood vessels.
  • Bone marrow (myeloid tissue) produces all the blood cells (although lymphocytes reach their mature form in the lymphoid organs).

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Play

Lesson Goal

  • Play Cell Command! Complete the levels 7-12.
  • While you are playing, think: what does the mitochondria do?
  • Pay close attention to which station you need to choose and why.

Gameplay screenshot

How to Play

This game uses Flash. If you see the screen below when starting the game, click on the highlighted Get Adobe Flash Player icon and follow the instructions to install Flash.

Gameplay screenshot

Alternatively, your computer may already have Flash installed, but the game needs your permission to enable it. Click on Allow to run Flash and proceed to the game.

Gameplay screenshot

To begin, click on New Game. If you are continuing your game from last time, click on Resume instead.

Gameplay screenshot

After clicking "next" on the dialogue, select your desired level and click on Launch Mission.

Gameplay screenshot

Gameplay Hints

Membrane

Show Notes
  • Notice if any colors line up in a certain direction, and place the cell so that all those colors approach it from roughly the same side.
  • Putting the cell near a corner of the screen can make it easier to focus on what’s entering the cell.
  • If you see differently colored nutrients that are near each other approaching the cell, click one of them to speed it up. The space this creates between them increases the chance that you’ll be able to get both of them in the cell. Gameplay screenshot

Golgi

Show Notes
  • Take your time! You only have a limited number of swaps.
  • If it looks like you can’t package a vesicle with the priority protein in under 3 swaps, it’s worth it to do another color instead. Gameplay screenshot

Lysosome

Show Notes
  • Look for straight lines of high-scoring waste first and try to get them in the lysosome’s path.
  • Sometimes dragging a control point really far out opens up new possibilities for where to put the next control point attached to it. Gameplay screenshot

Mitochondria

Show Notes
  • If there’s lots of carbon dioxide (C02) and the game gets overwhelming, pick one mitochondrion to focus on.
  • Don’t wait to collect ATP -- the game could end before you collect them all, so gather them right away.
  • Carbon dioxide can be created even if you don’t create an ATP. Be careful not to suck in any carbon dioxide. Gameplay screenshot

Duplication

Show Notes
  • It’s better to start the countdown a little early than a little late. The fibers disappear immediately if they pass the chromosome.
  • Don’t forget that you can shift chromosomes around even while some are doing a countdown (they stay put while counting down). Multitasking will lead to more efficiency. Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Which minigame was your favorite one? Is it the same as before?
  • Did the game get any more difficult as you've progressed?
  • Did you have to replay any of the games? Which one?
  • What do you think is happening in the story?

Tasks after Playing

What does the mitochondria do?

Show Notes

Mitochondria are rod-shaped organelles that can be considered the power generators of the cell, converting oxygen and nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Give examples of different kinds of tissues.

Show Notes

Blood, bone, nerve and muscle are examples of tissue.
In scientific classification, there are four primary tissue classifications: muscle, epithelial, connective and nerve tissue.

List at least 3 different kinds of cells.

Show Notes

For example, neurons, white and red blood cells, platelets, multiple types of bone cells (osteocyte, osteoclast and osteoblast).

Additional Tasks

What do white blood cells do?

Show Notes

White blood cells (leukocytes) defend the body by ingesting foreign materials and by producing antibodies.

What do red blood cells do?

Show Notes

Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are a component of blood and their primary function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. They also carry carbon dioxide to the lungs.

What are stem cells? Why are they special?

Show Notes

Stem cells have no differentiated, specific purpose. By dividing, they can create more stem cells or cells that assume a specific function, meaning that stem cells may have infinite potential in terms of healing.

What is cancellous bone?

Show Notes

Cancellous bone is porous i.e. with many small cavities. The cavities are filled by blood vessels and bone marrow.