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Compare and Contrast Key Features of Cell Specialisation

In this worksheet, students will compare specialised cells and their functions.

'Compare and Contrast 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 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 called 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 and forms a diploid zygote. 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 produced from respiration in 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's fertilised by the sperm cell the zygote which is formed, will get a full set of chromosomes (46) and referred to as diploid. 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.

Egg and sperm cells are sex cells and are referred to as gametes.

 

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! The stomach contains strong acid which can destroy the bacteria trapped in the mucus. This is just one clever example of how our body protects itself from pathogens.

 

In the following activity, you will be asked to compare and contrast the key features of specialised cells.

Picture of a sperm cell

 

The sperm cell is an example of a haploid cell. When it fertilises an egg a diploid cell is formed. What does diploid mean?

A full set of chromosomes, 46 in humans

Half the full set of chromosomes, 23 in human sperm and egg

The fusing of the haploid sperm nuclei with the haploid egg nucei

Image of 47 chromosomes

 

Cells with a complete set of chromosomes have 46 chromosomes in total. Some sperm or egg cells may randomly receive an extra chromosome during formation. How many chromosomes will this sperm or egg cell have?

47

24

23

Sperm cells and ciliated cells both contain mitochondria. Which process occurs in the mitochondria and why's it so important for the function of these cells?

The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria

The process of digestion occurs in the mitochondria

Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement

Respiration releases nutrients for sperm and cilia movement

Compare the key features of the sperm and egg cells.

The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria

The process of digestion occurs in the mitochondria

Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement

Respiration releases nutrients for sperm and cilia movement

Picture of a sperm cell

 

The acrosome found in the head of the sperm cell contains enzymes. What are enzymes and how do they help the sperm cell to do its job?

Enzymes are chemicals that slow down reactions

Enzymes are proteins that speed up a reaction

Enzymes are carbohydrates that speed up a reaction

The enzymes break down the outer membrane of the egg

The enzymes provides energy for movement

The enzymes break down 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

Picture of a sperm cellImage of an egg cellImage of a ciliated cell

 

Compare the structure of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

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

Image of a ciliated cell

 

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.

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

Image of egg and sperm cell

 

The egg and sperm cells are known as sex cells. What is another name for the sex cells?

In some females, two egg cells may be released at once from the ovary (instead of just one egg cell). If each of these egg cells become fertilised by separate sperm cells what may result?

Identical twins

Non-identical twins

No twins

  • Question 1

Picture of a sperm cell

 

The sperm cell is an example of a haploid cell. When it fertilises an egg a diploid cell is formed. What does diploid mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
A full set of chromosomes, 46 in humans
EDDIE SAYS
When the haploid sperm cells genetic material combines with the haploid egg cells genetic material a diploid zygote is formed. The zygote will have the full 46 chromosomes, eventually, this will grow to be an unborn baby.
  • Question 2

Image of 47 chromosomes

 

Cells with a complete set of chromosomes have 46 chromosomes in total. Some sperm or egg cells may randomly receive an extra chromosome during formation. How many chromosomes will this sperm or egg cell have?

CORRECT ANSWER
24
EDDIE SAYS
All body cells have 46 chromosomes. Sperm and egg cells have 23 chromosomes. During egg and sperm formation chromosomes may separate unevenly and an egg or sperm cell may accidentally receive an extra chromosome. This is called aneuploidy (say an-yoo-ploy-dee).
  • Question 3

Sperm cells and ciliated cells both contain mitochondria. Which process occurs in the mitochondria and why's it so important for the function of these cells?

CORRECT ANSWER
The process of respiration occurs in the mitochondria
Respiration releases energy for sperm and cilia movement
EDDIE SAYS
Mitochondria supply energy from respiration. Sperm cells use energy to move their tails to swim towards the egg cell, whereas ciliated cells use energy to move their cilia in order to waft mucus along our airways.
  • Question 4

Compare the key features of the sperm and egg cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The egg and sperm cell have haploid nuclei in common. Other features such as a powerful tail and an acrosome containing enzymes are unique to the sperm cell, the egg cell won't have these features. The egg cell, however, does have a large cytoplasm with lots of useful nutrients to supply the growing zygote with. The egg's membrane also forms a barrier to stop further sperm from entering; these features are unique to the egg cell.
  • Question 5

Picture of a sperm cell

 

The acrosome found in the head of the sperm cell contains enzymes. What are enzymes and how do they help the sperm cell to do its job?

CORRECT ANSWER
Enzymes are proteins that speed up a reaction
The enzymes break down the outer membrane of the egg
EDDIE SAYS
Enzymes are found in our body. They're biological catalysts made of protein that speed up a reaction. Without them, all our bodily reactions would happen at a slower rate. The acrosome also 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.
  • Question 6

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
Male infertility can be caused by a number of reasons, one of the reasons being sperm cells being deformed. The sperm cell relies on its powerful long tail to swim quickly towards the egg cell. If the tail of the sperm cell is deformed it will slow down the sperms speed and may not be able to fertilise the egg.
  • Question 7

Picture of a sperm cellImage of an egg cellImage of a ciliated cell

 

Compare the structure of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Sperm cellEgg cellCiliated cell
Haploid
Diploid
Tail
Nutrient stores
Cilia
Acrosome
Mitochondria for movement
Impermeable membrane
EDDIE SAYS
A quick summary of the main features of egg, sperm and ciliated cells.
  • Question 8

Image of a ciliated cell

 

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.

CORRECT ANSWER
Stomach acid will destroy any bacteria trapped in the mucus
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 acid will destroy the bacteria. This is one way our body protects us from illness.
  • Question 9

Image of egg and sperm cell

 

The egg and sperm cells are known as sex cells. What is another name for the sex cells?

CORRECT ANSWER
Gametes
Gamete
EDDIE SAYS
Just to make life a little more complicated here's another definition to remember! A gamete is the scientific name for a sex cell, the egg and sperm cell.
  • Question 10

In some females, two egg cells may be released at once from the ovary (instead of just one egg cell). If each of these egg cells become fertilised by separate sperm cells what may result?

CORRECT ANSWER
Non-identical twins
EDDIE SAYS
When separate eggs are fertilised by separate sperm then non-identical twins develop. This is because one fertilised egg cells genetic information is different from the other fertilised egg cells. The twins will look different from one another but like most siblings may share some physical similarities.
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