How to Make A Cell Membrane Model

Every living thing is comprised of living cells. These same cells control all types of functions in the human body. Cells have a cell membrane that acts as a regulator. It it the structure that allows substances to enter and exit the cell itself. There is a great way to understand the function of a cell membrane. Build a cellular model to help understand the way a cell membrane functions.

Things You’ll Need:

  • 2 packages of 1-inch Styrofoam balls, 30-count
  • Styrofoam cutter
  • Large container of craft glue
  • Large Styrofoam cube, 6 cubic inches
  • Scissors
  • Large package of pipe cleaners
  • Large package of multicolored, modeling clay
  • Invisible tape
  • 4 small, plastic coiled toy (like a Slinkie)
  • Small package of pompoms
  • 1 index card, any size
  • Pen
  • 7 toothpicks

Step 1

We need to cover the sryrofoam cube. Do this my cuting the styrofoam balls in half with the styrofoam cutter. Glue the halves to both the top and bottom of the cube. Use as many cubes as you need to completely cover the surfaces.

Step 2

Resize your pipe cleaners by cutting all of them into 4 equal parts. Resize your modeling clay as well. You need four different colors of modeling clay. Roll the clay out like a log. Use the scissors to split the log along the entire length creating a 6 inch long by 1 inch wide log. Leave one of your logs uncut.

Step 3

Cover the side of your cube with more styrofoam balls that have been halved. Glue the halves all over the cube, but leave the center empty. You also want to leave 2 inch gaps on the top and bottom sides. At the end you should have four aligned gaps in all on each side.

Step 4

Attach the pipe cleaners to your cube. They go under the half on the sides of the cube. Glue pipe cleaners above the styrofoam halves on the bottom and under the halves on the top. All pieces should be glued in the middle.

Step 5

Now attach your clay. Glue then to the open gaps along the side of your model cellular membrane. Use tape to secure the spring toys to the four spaces on the cube, Space your pompoms evenly over the top of the model. Secure the with glue.

Step 6

On a index card write the names of each element of the cell membrane. They are Fibrous Protein, Phospholipid head, Phospholipid tail, Glycoprotein, Pore protein, Channel protein and molecule. Cut out each word and tape the word to a toothpick. It should look like a flag.

Step 7

The “Phospholipid Head” label goes at the top of the model. The “Phospholipid Tail” label goes in the middle near the pipe cleaner. The  “Fibrous Protein” label  goes to the springy toys.The “Glycoprotein” label goes in the clay log that was left uncut. The “Pore Protein” label goes in  the split-open clay pieces. The “Channel Protein” label into one of the other split-open clay pieces. The “Molecule” label into the top of the model.

Filed Under: Science & Nature


About the Author: Daniel Sherwin holds a degree in Chemistry and plans to be a scientist sometime soon. He finds himself very close to the nature. Currently, he is living in New York, USA.

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