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Connect Key Features and Functions of Cell Specialisation

In this worksheet, students will be asked to connect key cell features to their functions.

'Connect Key Features and Functions 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 many cells like a plant. Some cells have particular jobs they need to carry out and are called specialised cells.  We will be looking into this more closely below!

 

Picture of a sperm cell

 

Sperm cell  The job or function of the sperm cell is to fertilise an egg cell. The head of the sperm cell,  the acrosome, contains enzymes which help the sperm cell to break down the outer membrane of the egg cell and then penetrate the egg cell. Once it penetrates the egg, the genetic material in the haploid sperm cell can combine with the genetic material of the haploid 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.

 

Image of an egg cell

 

Egg cell  Similar to the sperm cell, the nucleus of the egg cell is also haploid. This means when it is 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 impermeable so it doesn't allow any more sperm to enter the egg cell and interfere with the growth of the embryo.

 

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 match the key features of specialised cells with their functions.

The nucleus of each cell in our body contains 46 chromosomes - it is diploid. The nucleus of a sperm cell has 23 chromosomes. 

 

What is the term that refers to half the full set of chromosomes?

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

 

What is the purpose of the size of the cell and the nutrients in the cytoplasm?

 

  Image of an egg cell

Large size to allow many sperm cells to fertilise it

Nutrients to support the developing embryo

Nutrients to provide the sperm with energy

Large size to allow quick repeated cell division as the embryo grows

When an egg cell is fertilised by a sperm cell, the cell membrane of the egg cell changes and becomes impermeable.

 

Why does this happen?

 

                                                                         Image of egg and sperm cell

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

Infertility in males may occur because of sperm abnormalities. Some of the sperm may have an abnormal tail, such as being too short and crooked.

 

Explain why this abnormality can lead to infertility.

The short, crooked tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell at a normal pace

The short, crooked tail allows the sperm cell to swim faster than normal towards the egg cell

​The short, crooked tail stops the tail from moving as fast towards the egg

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. The mucus is often directed to our  stomachs.

 

What happens to the mucus once it reaches our stomachs?

 

Image of a ciliated cell

Stomach acid will destroy any bacteria trapped in the mucus

The stomach will store the mucus and trapped bacteria

The stomach will mix the bacteria with our food, weakening the bacteria

Ciliated cells and sperm cells have lots of mitochondria present in the cytoplasm. 

 

What function do these two cells have in common?

 

                                                                              Image of a ciliated cell

Cilia move by using energy from respiration released by the mitochondria

Cilia don't need energy to move

The sperm's tail moves by using energy from respiration released by the mitochondria

Sperm cell doesn't need energy to move

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 fewer infections

Compare the structures of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
Mitochondria for movement

Specialised cells are cells with a specific function or role. The function of a sperm cell is to fertilise an egg cell.

 

What part of the sperm cell is essential for fertilisation?

 

 

Picture of a sperm cell

Nucleus

Tail

Enzymes

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

 

Picture of a sperm cell 

Moving the tail makes the sperm cell stronger

The tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell

The mitochondria gives the sperm cell nutrition for movement

The acrosome contains enzymes that break down the outer membrane of the egg

The acrosome provides energy for movement

The mitochondria provides energy for movement

  • Question 1

The nucleus of each cell in our body contains 46 chromosomes - it is diploid. The nucleus of a sperm cell has 23 chromosomes. 

 

What is the term that refers to half the full set of chromosomes?

CORRECT ANSWER
Haploid
Haploids
Haploid cells
EDDIE SAYS
Did you remember the word and how about the spelling? 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 - that is 23 chromosomes. To help you remember, HAploid refers to HAlf.
  • Question 2

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

 

What is the purpose of the size of the cell and the nutrients in the cytoplasm?

 

  Image of an egg cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Nutrients to support the developing embryo
Large size to allow quick repeated cell division as the embryo grows
EDDIE SAYS
There were a couple of misleading options here - did you manage to avoid falling into the trap? Did you realise that option one must be wrong because only one sperm is able to fertilise an egg? Option three was also clearly wrong because the egg cell will not be providing the sperm cell with nutrients. So, the correct options were two and four. When an egg is fertilised by a sperm cell, a zygote is formed. The large size of the egg allows the zygote to divide rapidly to eventually form an embryo. It's the embryo that will use the nutrients in the cytoplasm to aid growth and development.
  • Question 3

When an egg cell is fertilised by a sperm cell, the cell membrane of the egg cell changes and becomes impermeable.

 

Why does this happen?

 

                                                                         Image of egg and sperm cell

CORRECT ANSWER
To stop any more sperm cells from trying to enter the egg cell
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one? 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 4

Infertility in males may occur because of sperm abnormalities. Some of the sperm may have an abnormal tail, such as being too short and crooked.

 

Explain why this abnormality can lead to infertility.

CORRECT ANSWER
​The short, crooked tail stops the tail from moving as fast towards the egg
EDDIE SAYS
Three options, all to do with the movement of the sperm. If we read them carefully, common sense should tell us that it has to be the one that makes movement more difficult. Male infertility can be caused by a number of reasons, one of them being sperm cells being deformed. Sperm cells rely on their long, powerful tails to swim quickly towards the egg cell. If the tail of a sperm cell is deformed, it will slow down the sperm's speed so that it might not be able to fertilise the egg.
  • Question 5

Our body has special cells with hair-like structures called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of our airways. The mucus is often directed to our  stomachs.

 

What happens to the mucus once it reaches our stomachs?

 

Image of a ciliated cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Stomach acid will destroy any bacteria trapped in the mucus
EDDIE SAYS
You're flying through this activity - are you getting the hang of these questions yet? 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 acid will destroy the bacteria. This is one way our body protects us from illness.
  • Question 6

Ciliated cells and sperm cells have lots of mitochondria present in the cytoplasm. 

 

What function do these two cells have in common?

 

                                                                              Image of a ciliated cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Cilia move by using energy from respiration released by the mitochondria
The sperm's tail moves by using energy from respiration released by the mitochondria
EDDIE SAYS
Don't worry if you're finding some of these questions a bit of a challenge. You'll soon feel more confident with these tricky sounding words. Both the cilia and sperm cells move. They both need energy for this process which is supplied by the mitochondria, following respiration. Remember that the ciliated cell itself doesn't actually move but the cilia do - the cilia are the hair-like structures.
  • Question 7

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
Well, it won't be a surprise to you that smoking damages your lungs! This question is asking you for more details about the damage it does. The chemicals in a cigarette can damage the cilia in our airways. This means that the mucus formed there will be harder to remove (smokers' coughs are usually quite harsh sounding because of this). It also means that the bacteria trapped in the mucus will stay longer in our bodies, causing a higher risk of infection.
  • Question 8

Compare the structures of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
Mitochondria for movement
EDDIE SAYS
This final question was testing you on what you could remember about these three types of cell. How did you do? The table serves as a quick summary of the main features of egg, sperm and ciliated cells - so make sure you know it well. That's another activity completed - well done!
  • Question 9

Specialised cells are cells with a specific function or role. The function of a sperm cell is to fertilise an egg cell.

 

What part of the sperm cell is essential for fertilisation?

 

 

Picture of a sperm cell

CORRECT ANSWER
Nucleus
EDDIE SAYS
These are all plausible options to consider, so you need to read the question carefully to make sure you choose the one that is needed for the actual process of fertilisation. The second option of 'tail 'could have been the correct one if you had been asked about which part was essential for locating the egg cell, but it plays no part in the fertilisation process. Fertilisation is when the genetic material of the sperm cell combines with the genetic material of the egg cell. The genetic material is found in the nucleus of the sperm cell and is haploid, which means it contains half the full set of chromosomes. When this happens a zygote is formed, which will eventually grow to be an unborn baby.
  • Question 10

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

 

Picture of a sperm cell 

CORRECT ANSWER
The tail allows it to swim towards the egg cell
The acrosome contains enzymes that break down the outer membrane of the egg
The mitochondria provides energy for movement
EDDIE SAYS
There were three options to tick this time - how did you get on? Let's take the mitochondria first. They release energy during respiration. This energy is used to move the sperm's tail so that it can swim towards the egg. The acrosome (in the head of the sperm) helps by using its enzymes to break down the outer membrane of the egg. The sperm cell can now enter the egg cell and fertilisation can happen.
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