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Identify and Describe Key Features of Cell Specialisation

In this worksheet, students will identify cell features and describe how cells are specialised.

'Identify and Describe Key Features of Cell Specialisation' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Biology: Single Subject, Biology: Combined Science

GCSE Boards:   Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Cells and Control

Curriculum subtopic:   Cells and Control

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Living things or organisms are made up of cells. Some organisms may be made up of just a single cell (unicellular) like bacteria, whereas, others are made up of lots of cells like a plant. Some cells have particular jobs they need to carry out and are called specialised cells. 

 

Picture of a sperm cell

 

Sperm cell - The job or function of the sperm cell is to fertilise an egg cell. The sperm cell is a haploid cell, meaning it has half of the full set of chromosomes. Our full set of chromosomes is 46, so half a set is 23 chromosomes. The head of the sperm cell called the acrosome contains enzymes which help the sperm cell to penetrate the egg cell. Once it penetrates the egg the genetic material in the sperm cell can combine with the genetic material of the egg cell. This is known as fertilisation. Eggciting stuff! The sperm cell is also suited to its job by having a tail to allow it to swim towards the egg. It uses the energy provided by the mitochondria to power the tail allowing it to swim to the egg.

 

Image of an egg cell

 

Egg cell - Similar to the sperm cell, the nucleus of the egg cell is also haploid. This means that when it's fertilised by the sperm cell, the zygote which is formed, will get a full set of chromosomes (46). The cytoplasm of the egg cell contains lots of nutrients. This is essential for the early growth of the embryo. Once fertilisation occurs the cell membrane of the egg becomes thicker so it doesn't allow any more sperm to enter. 

 

Image of a ciliated cell

 

 

Ciliated epithelial cells - They have tiny hair-like projections called cilia that move in a wave-like motion. These cells are usually found in our breathing passages like our trachea and nose. The cilia sweep mucus, dust and bacteria up our trachea where it can be swallowed or spat out. Lovely!

In the following activity, you will be asked to identify features of specialised cells and describe how their adaptation helps them to carry out their job.

The egg cell is quite large in comparison to a sperm cell and contains nutrients in the cytoplasm. What is the purpose of the nutrients in the cytoplasm?

To create life

To support the developing embryo

To help with fertilisation

Image of egg and sperm cell

 

When an egg cell is fertilised by a sperm cell, the cell membrane of the egg cell changes and becomes thicker. Why does this happen?

To stop any more sperm cells from trying to enter the egg cell

To stop any bacteria from entering the egg cell

To stop any nutrients from being lost from the egg cell

An egg cell and sperm cell are haploid.

To stop any more sperm cells from trying to enter the egg cell

To stop any bacteria from entering the egg cell

To stop any nutrients from being lost from the egg cell

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. What is the name of this important structure?

Cilia

Mucus

Trachea

Image of a ciliated cell

 

Why is it important that ciliated cells sweep out mucus from our airways?

Mucus is irritating so needs to be removed

Mucus often has trapped bacteria and dust that needs to be removed

Mucus is no use to us so needs to be removed

Smoking cigarettes is known to have an effect on the cilia in your airways. The cilia may become destroyed by the chemicals found in cigarettes. How might this affect the smoker?

The smoker may have more infections

The smoker will have a build up of mucus that will be difficult to remove

The smoker will have less infections

Compare the structure of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome

Picture of a sperm cell

 

Specialised cells are cells with a specific function or role. What is the function of a sperm cell? 

To create life

To fertilise an egg cell

To just keep swimming

 Picture of a sperm cell

 

Describe how mitochondria and the long tail of the sperm cell help the sperm cell to do its job.

The tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell

Moving the tail makes the sperm cell stronger

The mitochondria provides energy for movement

The mitochondria gives the sperm cell nutrition for movement

The nucleus of our body cells contain 46 chromosomes, they are diploid. The nucleus of a sperm cell is haploid. How many chromosomes will it have?  Give your answer as a number.

  • Question 1

The egg cell is quite large in comparison to a sperm cell and contains nutrients in the cytoplasm. What is the purpose of the nutrients in the cytoplasm?

CORRECT ANSWER
To support the developing embryo
EDDIE SAYS
When an egg is fertilised by a sperm cell a zygote is formed. The zygote will divide to eventually form an embryo. It's the embryo that will use the nutrients in the cytoplasm to aid growth and development.
  • Question 2

Image of egg and sperm cell

 

When an egg cell is fertilised by a sperm cell, the cell membrane of the egg cell changes and becomes thicker. Why does this happen?

CORRECT ANSWER
To stop any more sperm cells from trying to enter the egg cell
EDDIE SAYS
The egg cell becomes impermeable to other sperm cells once it's fertilised. This is so that the process of fertilisation can occur undisturbed without further sperm cells entering the egg cell.
  • Question 3

An egg cell and sperm cell are haploid.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Diploid means a full set of chromosomes (46) whereas haploid means half the number of chromosomes (23). To help you remember, D for Diploid, D for Double.
  • Question 4

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. What is the name of this important structure?

CORRECT ANSWER
Cilia
EDDIE SAYS
Ciliated cells are super important. They move like waves and sweep out bacteria that are trapped in mucus. The mucus is wafted up the trachea and often swallowed where our stomach digests it.
  • Question 5

Image of a ciliated cell

 

Why is it important that ciliated cells sweep out mucus from our airways?

CORRECT ANSWER
Mucus often has trapped bacteria and dust that needs to be removed
EDDIE SAYS
Mucus helps us to stay healthy by trapping bacteria in its stickiness. This allows the ciliated cells to waft it out of the body or towards our stomach where it can be digested.
  • Question 6

Smoking cigarettes is known to have an effect on the cilia in your airways. The cilia may become destroyed by the chemicals found in cigarettes. How might this affect the smoker?

CORRECT ANSWER
The smoker may have more infections
The smoker will have a build up of mucus that will be difficult to remove
EDDIE SAYS
The chemicals in a cigarette can damage the cilia in our airways. This means that the mucus formed in our airways will be harder to remove (smokers coughs are usually quite harsh sounding because of this). It also means the bacteria trapped in the mucus will stay longer in our bodies causing a higher risk of infection.
  • Question 7

Compare the structure of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
EDDIE SAYS
This table gives you a quick summary of the main features of egg, sperm and ciliated cells. Make sure you know this for the exam!
  • Question 8

Picture of a sperm cell

 

Specialised cells are cells with a specific function or role. What is the function of a sperm cell? 

CORRECT ANSWER
To fertilise an egg cell
EDDIE SAYS
Fertilisation is when the sperm cells genetic material combines with the egg cells genetic material. When this happens a zygote is formed, eventually, this will grow to be an unborn baby.
  • Question 9

 Picture of a sperm cell

 

Describe how mitochondria and the long tail of the sperm cell help the sperm cell to do its job.

CORRECT ANSWER
The tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell
The mitochondria provides energy for movement
EDDIE SAYS
Mitochondria release energy during respiration. This energy is used to move the sperm's tail so that it can swim towards the egg.
  • Question 10

The nucleus of our body cells contain 46 chromosomes, they are diploid. The nucleus of a sperm cell is haploid. How many chromosomes will it have?  Give your answer as a number.

CORRECT ANSWER
23
23 chromosomes
twenty-three
twenty three
EDDIE SAYS
All of our body cells contain a full set of 46 chromosomes, except our egg or sperm cells. They're haploid so contain half the number of chromosomes, so 23 chromosomes. To help you remember, HAploid refers to HAlf.
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