the living cell



Deliverable Length: 5-6 paragraphs

When you look around at the world, you can see many examples that demonstrate how an object’s or a system’s structure relates to its function. The structure of a highway system, for example, can affect traffic flow. You can, no doubt, think of many other examples.

In this Discussion Board assignment, you will look at the structure of the most basic unit of life, the living cell. You will also investigate how the structures of cells are directly related to the functions that are important to life.

Part 1

Your text describes the difference between the organelles in a eukaryotic cell and the more simple structure of a prokaryotic cell as an analogy between the chief executive officer’s (CEO’s) corner office and a cubicle. Organelles are like appliances or pieces of furniture that perform specific functions. Choose 1 organelle, and use an analogy to explain its function. For example, explain how a chloroplast is like a solar panel, or how a mitochondrion is like a furnace. Try to think of original analogies for other organelles or cell structures such as golgi, lysosome, cell wall, cell membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, nucleus, and so on. Include how your analogy may be less than perfect. Compare your analogy with those of your classmates’.

Part 2

You will read that only plants, algae, and some bacteria are photosynthetic. There is an exception to this, though. One species of sea slug has found a way to steal chloroplasts, store them in cells lining its digestive tract, and live on the sugar that is produced (Milius, 2010). What benefit would there be for animal cells (including those of humans) to make their own food? Could cell, tissue, or genetic engineering allow humans to use chloroplasts this way? Describe 1 or 2 factors that would need to be considered for chloroplasts to function in an animal or a human.


Milius, S. (2010). Green sea slug is part animal, part plant. Retrieved from

Provide references in APA format. This includes a reference list and in-text citations for references used throughout the assignment.

External Web Links

  • Prokaryote Versus Eukaryote
  • Endosymbiont Theory


Deliverable Length: 2-3 pages

Scientific inquiry in biology starts by observing the living species around you. What separates science from the other methods of seeking truth is that it is testable (e.g., one can devise experiments to test the validity of an idea); it is falsifiable (e.g., an experiment can reveal if an idea is false); and it involves natural causality (e.g., the method involves and depends upon the natural laws of the universe which cause things to happen in a predictable and repeatable manner).

Observation: Scientific inquiry begins when something interesting gets your attention.

Question: Following an observation, a question arises in your mind. It may be something like “I wonder what?” or, “I wonder how? or, “I wonder why?”

Assignment Details

In this assignment, you will take a look at the scientific method. You will design a (fictional) scientific study to answer a specific question based upon an observation.

First, choose 1 of the following observations or questions:

  • Option A
    • Observation: During the winter, you spread salt daily on your driveway to melt the snow. In the springtime, when the lawn begins to grow, you notice that there is no grass growing for about 3 inches from the driveway. Furthermore, the grass seems to be growing more slowly up to about 1 foot from the driveway.
    • Question: Might grass growth be inhibited by salt?
  • Option B
    • Observation: You and your neighbor have small kitchen gardens where you both grow tomatoes. His blotchy green and red tomatoes taste much sweeter than your perfectly uniform red ones.
    • Question: Might tomato sweetness be effected by the green chloroplasts in the fruits?
  • Option C
    • Observation: You went to the bakery to get a loaf of bread, but all of the loaves seemed small. The baker said that he used the same recipe and tested to be sure the yeast in the dough was active, but the machine he used broke down during the kneading process. Because the bread rose, he decided that it had developed enough gluten, and he baked it off anyway.
    • Question: Does yeast need air to make bread rise?

After choosing 1 of the above options (observation and question), you will do some library or Internet research about the subject. Once you have become familiar with the topic, propose a testable hypothesis to answer the question, and follow the rest of scientific method to determine if your hypothesis is correct by designing a controlled experiment.

You will not actually do the experiment or collect results; rather, you will propose a workable controlled experiment and make up what would seem to be reasonable results. You will then discuss those imagined results and draw a conclusion (based upon your imagined results) about whether or not to accept your hypothesis.

Complete the steps of the scientific method for your choice of observation and question using the directions below. Use the following headings in your paper.


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