Parts Wanted

Advertising for Cells' Organelles

A lesson plan by Grace Lisenby; Carroll Junior High School, South Lake, TX
Subject: 7th Grade Life Science/Biology (adaptable for grades 6-10)

This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst in 2002. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

In a constant search for more innovative forms of assessment than traditional objective tests, I created this project as a way to assess students' knowledge and comprehension of cell's organelles and their functions.


  • Students will be able to name the parts of the cell.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the parts of a cell in reference to cell functions.
  • Students will be able to apply their knowledge of the cell and the cell parts to a real world situation.


McRel Science Standard 5, Level III, Benchmark 1

McRel Science Standard 5, Level IV, Benchmark 1

McRel Science Standard 5, Level IV, Benchmark 6


For one class of 30 students, working in groups of two:

• Help wanted advertisements from newspaper (about 75)
• 15 envelopes
• White paper (at least 15 sheets)
• Markers, map pencils
• Projector
• Laptops/computers (if applicable/available)


This lesson will need to follow notes and/or lecture about the parts of the cell.

1. Place five help wanted ads in each envelope.

2. Have students get into groups of two.

3. Hand out envelopes to each pair of students.

4. Tell students to study the five pieces of paper and list everything they have in common.

5. When you have allowed enough time to complete a list (about 10 minutes), pick up the envelopes and call on each group to share an item from their list. You should be able to complete a class list of what all help wanted ads have in common. Items should include: list of qualifications, list of responsibilities, list of benefits, contact (phone number or address) and may include such things as: they all have borders, they all are four-sided, they all are in English, they are all in black and white, etc.

6. Tell students that they will now combine and apply their knowledge of the cell parts and their newly gained knowledge of help wanted ads. They will create a "parts wanted ad" for a cell that is looking for a specific organelle. The students will be allowed to pick the organelle, or you could assign them or have students draw them out of a hat.

7. Work through one example:
"Looking for a great opportunity to lead? Do you enjoy making decisions for others? Is guidance your strong point? If so, we are seeking to fill a managerial position. We are in need of a control center for a cell. Must be able to operate a cell. Should have solid experience reading and de-coding DNA. Should exhibit strong leadership skills. Benefits include: placement in low-stress arm cells, long life don't die; you just divide and multiply! If interested contact The Body at 817-8WE-CELL."

8. Remind students that they shouldn't directly list the name of the organelle; instead make the reader figure it out from the clues given.

9. Go over product descriptor (see evaluation rubric ideas - below).

10. Allow students to work the remainder of that class period and one more on the ad. They can create it on paper or electronically at a computer using PowerPoint or any online tool such as Google Docs (reviewed here). Or have students create their ad using an online poster maker such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here).

11. At the beginning of the 3rd day, have students hand in ads. Place one at a time on projector. If done electronically/online, share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have other groups guess the identity of the organelle needed. Discuss the clues that were given.

12. Grade ads using product descriptor.

13. As a further assessment tool, you can pick the best ad for each organelle that you received throughout the day and compile the ads into a quiz or test. Students have to give the correct organelle needed. If you make sure to pick ones from various periods through the day, the students will not have seen more than two of the ads.


Evaluation Rubric:

• Content (accurate, complete information indicating knowledge of part and it's function) - 30 points total.
• Creativity (fresh and interesting approach) - 30 points total
• Presentation (advertisement is neat, appealing to the eye and indicates time and effort) - 30 points total.
• Grading Rubric should be filled out and stapled to the top of the advertisement) - 10 points.

This last rubric is simply 1-4 on a sheet of paper that I use to write the grade, plus a place for them to write their names, and the name of the cell part they are advertising for, as well as a couple of questions about the assignment. (What did you like about the assignment? What did you not like about the assignment?) If you create the rubric in Google docs, Web Poster Wizard, or another site, students can add their info and share it/email it to you.