What Are the Parts of a Plant Cell

When teaching about the parts of a plant cell, it's helpful to print out a picture of a typical plant cell so your child can see the structures. Giving your child a visual of the plant cell will help him understand what you are talking about. If you feel inspired, you can even make a model of a plant cell using household objects or food. Kids love hands-on models; the plant cell is an easy model to make since it is relatively simple.

Plant cell walls differ from animal cell walls because they are thick and rigid. You may want to start your model with a piece of corrugated cardboard that you form into a circle or a square to symbolize the cell wall.

Inside the cell wall, you will find the following plant cell structures:

  • Cytoplasm: This is a jelly-like substance in which the rest of the cell structures float inside the cell.
  • Nucleus: Think of this as an egg inside the cell. This is a sphere-shaped structure contained by the nuclear membrane. It holds the nucleolus and controls most of the cell functions. It is in charge of protein photosynthesis and contains the plant's DNA.
  • Nucleolus: Think of this as the egg yolk inside the egg. This is the round organelle that produces ribosomal RNA.
  • Vacuole: This is a big sac inside the cell that is filled with fluid. It exists to help the cell keep its shape. It takes up a lot of space in the cell.
  • Chloroplast: This is a disk-shaped organelle that contains chlorophyll. It manufactures sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide and sunlight, using the process of photosynthesis. Plant cells found in the leaves of plants have a lot of chloroplasts in them.
  • Mitochondrion: These organelles look like rods inside the cell. They consist of folded membranes. This structure is converts the glucose made by photosynthesis into energy the plant uses to grow and function.
  • Centrosome: This is a part of the cell that is vitally involved in cell division and reproduction. It manufactures microtubules, and when the cell divides, the centrosome divides first. One centrosome goes to one side of the cell, while the other goes to the other side of the cell, ensuring that each new cell can reproduce.
  • Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum: This multi-folded membrane is covered with ribosomes, the tiny organelles that synthesize protein. This membrane and its many sacs produce proteins and transport nutrients through the cell.
  • Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum: This multi-folded membrane transports nutrients, digest lipids and proteins and produces enzymes. It transports these things to the golgi body and the cell membrane.
  • Golgi Body: The golgi body is like a packaging plant; it packages up proteins and carbohydrates before they are exported from the cell.
  • Amylosplast: Not all plants have these. This is an organelle that stores starch in plants like potatoes. The stored starch can be broken down into glucose when the plant needs additional energy.
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