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Specialised Cells

In this worksheet, students will be helped to look at a variety of different specialised cells and to use the information given to help them to decide what its function is.

'Specialised Cells' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Biology: Structure and Function of Living Organisms

Curriculum subtopic:  Cells and Organisation

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

This worksheet is all about specialised cells - that is, ones that have a particular design which is related to the job that they do.  

 

Some organisms are made up of only one cell. However, most organisms are made up of more than one cell - they are what is called multi-cellular.  That means that these many different types of cells have a particular job and so their shape and design will be related to that function.

 

OK, so let's have a look at a few - some of this information will come up in the questions, so look at it carefully; mind you, you can always come back to the Introduction for another peek by clicking on the Help button above the questions!

 

  • For example in animals, muscle cells contract and relax;  that means the contracting and then relaxing of the muscle cells in the intestines moves food along.
  • Red blood cells carry oxygen gas. They have a special shape which helps to transport oxygen to all the cells in the body.
  • Nerve cells are special because they have long fibres to carry messages from one part of the body to another.
  • Plant root hair cells have a large surface area and a large vacuole, which allows the plant to absorb and store lots of water and other nutrients from the soil.

 

So, lecture over for now!  See how much of that information (and more) you can bring into the questions in this activity.

This question is about root hair cells. Look at the picture below of this type of cell.

 

 

 Tick TWO things from the list that the root hair cell absorbs for the plant to use.

water

glucose

minerals

soil

oxygen

Here is what a NERVE CELL looks like under a high-powered microscope:

 

 

Choose the correct function of the nerve cell from the list below.

carries messages

carries oxygen

fights disease

Do you know what this one is?

 

 

In fact it's a RED BLOOD CELL, but what does it do?

carries messages

carries oxygen

fights disease

This cell is a SPERM cell:

 

 

Look at it carefully and decide what you think is the function (job) of this specialised cell.

swim towards the egg to fertilise it

absorb oxygen

transport food

This specialised cell is a WHITE BLOOD CELL:

 

 

Look at it carefully and choose its job from the list.

carries messages

carries oxygen

fights disease

This next cell is a MUSCLE CELL:

 

 

Look at it, think about it and decide what its job is.

contracts

fights disease

carries messages

lines mouth

Now this is called an EPITHELIAL CELL:

 

 

Doesn't look that specialised, does it? What do you think it does?

carries messages

lines mouth

contracts

carries oxygen

Now look at this one - it's called a CILIATED CELL:

 

 

Here's the list of possibilities - what do you think?

found in the nasal passages

found in the stomach

carries oxygen

stores food

This cell is from the leaf of a plant - it's called a PALLISADE CELL:

 

 

Its job is to absorb a particular sort of energy for the plant - what do you think it is?

wind

light

oxygen

Here's that pallisade cell again:

 

 

Which gas is it designed to absorb?

oxygen

nitrogen

carbon dioxide

  • Question 1

This question is about root hair cells. Look at the picture below of this type of cell.

 

 

 Tick TWO things from the list that the root hair cell absorbs for the plant to use.

CORRECT ANSWER
water
minerals
EDDIE SAYS
Look at that root hair cell - remember, it's tiny! Those little hairs poke out in between the soil particles, helping to massively increase the surface area for absorbing the water and minerals that the plant needs to grow healthily and operate normally.
  • Question 2

Here is what a NERVE CELL looks like under a high-powered microscope:

 

 

Choose the correct function of the nerve cell from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
carries messages
EDDIE SAYS
Look at that nerve cell - it's so long! Its job is to carry messages around the body, which it does by little electric impulses. Nerve cells join other nerve cells and so messages are carried with amazing speed from head to leg.
  • Question 3

Do you know what this one is?

 

 

In fact it's a RED BLOOD CELL, but what does it do?

CORRECT ANSWER
carries oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
Your blood is red BECAUSE of these. They contain a pigment (with the difficult name of HAEMOGLOBIN, pronounced HEE-MO-GLOBE-IN)) which is made with iron, giving blood its red colour. Its job is to pick up oxygen from the lungs and carry it around the body to where it's needed. They are that shape because it means that even though they are small they can carry masses of oxygen.
  • Question 4

This cell is a SPERM cell:

 

 

Look at it carefully and decide what you think is the function (job) of this specialised cell.

CORRECT ANSWER
swim towards the egg to fertilise it
EDDIE SAYS
It's an amazing cell, the sperm, and its job is to SWIM towards the egg faster than all of the other sperm cells, to try and be the one which fertilises the egg. In its head is a package of information (the nucleus) and the sperm has to 'deliver' it to the egg - to do that it has a tail which it uses to swim.
  • Question 5

This specialised cell is a WHITE BLOOD CELL:

 

 

Look at it carefully and choose its job from the list.

CORRECT ANSWER
fights disease
EDDIE SAYS
White blood cells are terribly important in helping to fight off disease. As you can see they are shape-shifters! When they come across invaders (like these bacteria) in the blood they engulf them, that is they grow around them and sort of eat them!
  • Question 6

This next cell is a MUSCLE CELL:

 

 

Look at it, think about it and decide what its job is.

CORRECT ANSWER
contracts
EDDIE SAYS
You find muscle cells in all sorts of places around the body: obvious places like arms and legs, but also in the heart, intestines, tongue and so on. Their job is to move things and they do that by contracting (getting shorter) and relaxing (getting longer again).
  • Question 7

Now this is called an EPITHELIAL CELL:

 

 

Doesn't look that specialised, does it? What do you think it does?

CORRECT ANSWER
lines mouth
EDDIE SAYS
Epithelial cells line pretty much every tube in the body: mouth, gut, veins and so on; in fact those tiny blood vessels called capillaries are MADE of epithelium. So, their specialised job is to be the lining of the spaces in the body. It's kind of like pavement, or brickwork.
  • Question 8

Now look at this one - it's called a CILIATED CELL:

 

 

Here's the list of possibilities - what do you think?

CORRECT ANSWER
found in the nasal passages
EDDIE SAYS
Look at the surface of the cell - all those wavy hair-like things are called CILIA (pronounced SILL-IYA) and their job is to move things along. In the nasal passages (that's in the tubes running from the nose to the trachea/windpipe) those little cilia collect tiny particles of dust and pollen and pass them back up to the nose to be removed.
  • Question 9

This cell is from the leaf of a plant - it's called a PALLISADE CELL:

 

 

Its job is to absorb a particular sort of energy for the plant - what do you think it is?

CORRECT ANSWER
light
EDDIE SAYS
Pallisade cells line the top part of most leaves and they contain masses of green blobs inside called chloroplasts - those absorb the energy from sunlight and use that to make food for the plant ... and us!
  • Question 10

Here's that pallisade cell again:

 

 

Which gas is it designed to absorb?

CORRECT ANSWER
carbon dioxide
EDDIE SAYS
Pallisade cells are in the leaves - what's the job of the leaves? To make food for the plant. What do they need to do that? Sunlight, water (from the roots) and carbon dioxide (from the air) - that's what all those pallisade cells are doing; and thank heavens as we wouldn't be here if they weren't!
---- OR ----

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