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Cellular Organization

Investigation 1 – PreLab









All known living things are made of cells. Studying cells helps us understand how living things function.


Pathologists look at kidney cells, for example, to determine if a patient needs a transplant.


This Investigation is designed to help you to answer the following Focus Question:

  • Can you identify the type of organism a cell comes from through observation? 

Note: This question is located in your SDs at the beginning and end of the Investigation.


As a class, read the Background(s) in the Investigation. When finished, discuss the following concept as a class:

  • The total magnification used to view a slide can be calculated by multiplying the power of the microscope’s eyepiece (10x) and the power of the objective used to view the specimen (either 4x, 10x, or 40x).


  • There are no Key Terms introduced in Investigation 1.

Note: Additional words may be bolded within the Background(s). These words are not Key Terms and are strictly emphasized for exposure at this time.


  • Complete the Recall section in your SDR. 
    • Do I know what cells are?
    • Do I know why cells are important?
    • What do I expect to see if I look at a cell under the microscope?”
  • Cells are the smallest structure of living things that can perform the functions necessary for life. Living things are made of cells. Cells come from other living cells.

Note: There is some debate as to whether viruses, which consist of RNA or DNA in a protein capsid or membrane envelope, are classified as living or non-living organisms.

  • Cells that are organized together form tissues. Tissues come together to form organs. 
  • Play the video below. Remember to follow along with your SDR and make any notes that you think might be helpful in the lab.
  • After the video, divide into your lab groups to discuss strategy for the lab. For example, you may assign certain group members to perform specific functions during the lab.

Note: The purpose of the video is to allow you to anticipate the laboratory experience you will soon encounter. You should leave this PreLab session with a firm idea of what to expect and how to perform in the lab.

Note: Homework is posted below the video.


You should review the Investigation and video in preparation for the Lab.