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Plant and Animal Cells Lesson Plan - A Complete Science Lesson Using the 5E Method of Instruction

At the end of this plant and animal cell lesson plan, students will be able to differentiate between structure and function in plant and animal cell organelles, including cell membrane, cell wall, nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondrion, chloroplast, and vacuole. Each lesson is designed using the 5E method of instruction to ensure maximum comprehension by the students.

The following post will walk you through each of the steps and activities from the plant and animal cell lesson plan.


Objective Introduction

At the beginning of the lesson, the class will do a Think-Pair-Share to discuss the objective.

Class Activity

  1. Show students the PP slide with the microscopic image of both an animal and plant cell. Give them no further information than they are images of cells.

Student Activity

  1. Ask students to observe the PP slide of the microscopic image of cells.
  2. Hopefully, they remember learning what cells are in their Cell Theory Unit.
  3. Ask the students to list any differences they see between the two images.
  4. Have the students hypothesize about what image might be.
  5. Explain to them that the image on the right is an animal cell and the image on the left is a plant cell.
  6. Ask if they see anything inside each cell and hypothesize what they might be.
  7. Explain that today they will be learning what the difference is between an animal cell and a plant cell. They will also be learning about the organelles inside each cell and what its function is.

The teacher will help to clear any misconceptions about animal and plant cells. Some may be that all cells are the same size and shape, plants are not made of cells, and that some living parts of organisms are not made of cells.

Estimated Class Time for the Engagement: 20-30 minutes



This student-centered station lab is set up so students can begin to explore animal and plant cells. Four of the stations are considered input stations where students are learning new information about animal and plant cells and four of the stations are output stations where students will be demonstrating their mastery of the input stations.  Each of the stations is differentiated to challenge students using a different learning style.  You can read more about how I set up the station labs here.


Students will be working in pairs to better understand plant and animal cells. Students will be comparing two diagrams of plant and animal cells and will try to identify the differences and similarities. Students will follow the steps and record their observations on their lab sheet.


At this station, students will be watching a short video explaining plant and animal cells. Students will then answer questions related to the video and record their answers on their lab station sheet. For example: What is the function of the cell wall in plant cells? What is the function of chloroplasts in plant cells? How are the vacuoles different in plant and animal cells?


The research station will allow students to explore an interactive web page that allows students to click to obtain information about the organelles that are in plant and animal cells. Students will be instructed to complete a few tasks and record answers on their lab sheets.


This station will provide students with a one page reading about Plant and animal cells. In the reading, students will understand how they are both similar and different. There are 4 follow-up questions that the students will answer to show reading comprehension of the subject.


The assess it station is where students will go to prove mastery over the concepts they learned in the lab.  The questions are set up in a standardized format with multiple choice answers.  Some questions include: Which organelle is only found in plant cells? What is the function of the nucleus in plant and animal cells? Which structure allows gases and nutrients in and out of cells? What is the function of the vacuole in plant cells?



Students who can answer open-ended questions about the lab truly understand the concepts that are being taught.  At this station, the students will be answering three task cards: Which two organelles can be found in plant cells that aren’t found in animal cells? Describe what each of them does. How do you know that plant and animal cells are eukaryotic? What is the function of the mitochondria in cells?


Your visual students will love this station. Students will label and describe the 3 main differences between a plant cell compared to the animal cell.

Something Powerful


The organize it station allows your students to lock in the organelles found in cells and match them up with their correct functions. Students will then identify if the organelle belongs to animals, plants, or both. Once students have completed their organization, the teacher will come and check their understanding.

Estimated Class Time for the Exploration: 1-2, 45 minute class periods



The explanation activities will become much more engaging for the class once they have completed the exploration station lab.  During the explanation piece, the teacher will be clearing up any misconceptions about animal and plant cells with an interactive PowerPoint, anchor charts, and notes. The animal and plant cells lesson includes a PowerPoint with activities scattered throughout to keep the students engaged.

The students will also be interacting with their journals while taking notes from the PowerPoint. If you have students that need modified notes, the 5E lessons come equipped to help give every student access to the lesson.

Estimated Class Time for the Exploration: 2-3, 45 minute class periods


The elaboration section of the 5E method of instruction is intended to give students choice on how they can prove mastery of the concept.  When students are given choice the ‘buy-in’ is much greater than when the teacher tells them the project they will have to create.  The elaboration project will allow students to create a number of different project ideas ranging from bulletin board creation to designing a model.

Estimated Class Time for the Elaboration: 2-3, 45 minute class periods (can also be used as an at-home project)


The final piece of the 5E model is to evaluate student comprehension.  Included in every 5E lesson is a homework assignment, assessment, and modified assessment.  Research has shown that homework needs to be meaningful and applicable to real-world activities in order to be effective.  When possible, I like to give open-ended assessments to truly gauge the student’s comprehension.

Estimated Class Time for the Elaboration: 1, 45 minute class period


The full lesson is available for download from my TpT store.  Save yourself a ton of time and grab it now.

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