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Compare Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Cells

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Image of a prokaryotic cellImage of animal cell and plant cell

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 loads of cells, like a plant. 

 

With the invention of the electron microscope in the 20th century, scientists were able to see structures inside of cells more clearly. These structures are called organelles. It was noticed that organisms in the animal, plant, fungi and protist kingdoms all had a cell membrane, cytoplasm and a visible nucleus that contained the genetic material. These are called eukaryotic cells.

 

Organisms like bacteria are much smaller than eukaryotic cells. The genetic material in a bacteria isn't in a nucleus - these are said to be prokaryotic cells. The genetic material is usually a single loop of DNA, and there may be one or more rings of DNA called a plasmid. Prokaryotic cells have cytoplasm and a cell membrane surrounded by a cell wall. Many (but not all) have a capsule surrounding the cell wall. Some prokaryotic cells may also have flagella to help with movement.

 

 

The organelles in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells differ and have various jobs. Let's look at these organelles a little more closely: 

 

Nucleus- Contains the genetic material which the cell uses to make proteins. Cell activities are controlled here. Kind of like the control centre of a cell.

 

Cytoplasm - Jelly-like substance that contains the organelles. Many chemical reactions happen here. 

 

Cell membrane - Controls the substances which enter and leave the cell. A bit like the gates at the Houses of Parliament!

 

Mitochondria - Very small structures in the cytoplasm where respiration takes place, releasing energy for the cell.

 

Ribosomes - Makes all the proteins needed for the cell via gene translation.

 

 

Some organelles are only found in plant cells, such as chloroplasts, cell wall and vacuoles. Let's look at their jobs below:

 

Chloroplasts - contain a green pigment called chlorophyll which absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis, the process plants use to make glucose. 

 

Vacuole - sometimes called the permanent vacuole. It's a space in the middle of the cell filled with cell sap, it keeps the plant rigid to support the plant.

 

Cell wall - made of long cellulose fibres to make the cell stronger, and supports the plant.

 

 

Prokaryotic cells have some similar features to eukaryotic cells, like the cytoplasm, cell membrane and cell walls. However, the cell wall in prokaryotes is made of a different substance than in plants and its role is to maintain the cell's shape and protect the cell. The cytoplasm and cell membrane do similar roles as in eukaryotic cells.

 

In the following activity, you will compare eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell features and functions.

 

Prokaryotic cells don't have a nucleus or membrane-bound organelles.

 

Which structures are unique to prokaryotic cells? Choose three answers.

Single loop of DNA

Ribosomes

Mitochondria

Circular plasmids

Nucleus

Flagella

Which of the following pictures is a prokaryotic cell? Select one answer.

 

A.Picture of a sperm cell

B.Picture of a nerve cell

C.Image of a prokaryotic cell

D. Image of a root hair cell

A

B

C

D

Image of cell wall structure

 

Plant cells have a cell wall, whereas animal cells don't. The reason for this is that plants need to be supported during their growth by having strong cell walls made from cellulose. Without them, plants would be unable to grow upright as well as they do. 

 

Prokaryotic cells also have cell walls. However, they are not made of cellulose, but long chains of sugars and amino acids.

 

How does the cell wall in a plant differ from a cell wall in a prokaryotic cell? Choose one answer.

It's made of lipids

It's made of long chains of cellulose

It's made of long chains of sugars and amino acids

Image showing the process of photosynthesis in plants

 

Plant cells are examples of eukaryotic cells. Plants use sunlight for photosynthesis.

 

Which two features do plants not share with prokaryotes? Select two answers only.

Ribosomes

Chloroplast

Mitochondria

Cell wall

Permanent vacuole

Photosynthesis

Image of animal and plant cell

Compare the structure of animal and plant cells (both are eukaryotic cells).

 

Select all applicable answers in each row.

 Animal cellPlant cell
Nucleus
Cytoplasm
Vacuole
Ribosomes
Cell Membrane
Cell wall
Chloroplast
Mitochondria

Image of a prokaryotic cell

The genetic material of Prokaryotic cells is found as a single loop or as a plasmid in the cytoplasm of the cell.

 

What is the job of a plasmid? Select one answer.

To copy all of the cell's genetic material

To transfer genetic material easily from cell to cell

To carry out protein synthesis

Match up the cell's key structures with their description

Column A

Column B

Contains the genetic material which the cell uses ...
Nucleus
Very small structures in the cytoplasm where respi...
Cell Wall
Jelly-like substance that contains the organelles....
Mitochondria
Absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis, the process p...
Cytoplasm
Makes all the proteins needed for the cell
Vacuole
Sometimes called the permanent vacuole. It's a spa...
Chloroplasts
Made of fibres to make the cell stronger, and supp...
Ribosomes
Controls the substances which enter and leave the ...
Cell Membrane

Study this picture of a bacteria and fill in the blanks below.  

Image of a prokaryotic cell

 

Column A

Column B

Contains the genetic material which the cell uses ...
Nucleus
Very small structures in the cytoplasm where respi...
Cell Wall
Jelly-like substance that contains the organelles....
Mitochondria
Absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis, the process p...
Cytoplasm
Makes all the proteins needed for the cell
Vacuole
Sometimes called the permanent vacuole. It's a spa...
Chloroplasts
Made of fibres to make the cell stronger, and supp...
Ribosomes
Controls the substances which enter and leave the ...
Cell Membrane

Compare the key features of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Select all applicable answers in each row.

 Eukaryotic cellProkaryotic cell
Nucleus present
Cytoplasm
Cell membrane
Plasmid
Mitochondria
Ribosome

Compare and contrast the features of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells by matching up the sentences below.

Column A

Column B

Prokaryotic cells are much smaller...
...bound, whereas eukaryotic cell organelles are
Eukaryotic cells are thought to have...
...mitochondria in common
Prokaryotic organelles are not membrane...
...however, in eukaryotic cells, the DNA is locate...
Prokaryotic cells have a single loop of DNA and pl...
...than eukaryotic cells
Both cell types have...
...cell cytoplasm and cell membranes
Plant cells and prokaryotic cells have cell walls ...
...however, the vacuole and chloroplasts are uniqu...
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells have ribosomes an...
...evolved from prokaryotic cells
  • Question 1

Prokaryotic cells don't have a nucleus or membrane-bound organelles.

 

Which structures are unique to prokaryotic cells? Choose three answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Single loop of DNA
Circular plasmids
Flagella
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? In prokaryotes, the genetic material is found in the cytoplasm of the cell as a single loop. The prokaryotic cell will also have circular pieces of DNA called plasmids. Plasmids are an easy way to transfer DNA to other cells. Some prokaryotes, normally bacteria, have tail-like structures called flagella, which help the cell move.
  • Question 2

Which of the following pictures is a prokaryotic cell? Select one answer.

 

A.Picture of a sperm cell

B.Picture of a nerve cell

C.Image of a prokaryotic cell

D. Image of a root hair cell

CORRECT ANSWER
C
EDDIE SAYS
The easiest way to tell if a cell is prokaryotic is to look out for a nucleus. If you can't see a nucleus, then it most likely is prokaryotic. Not all prokaryotic cells have flagella, so don't use that as the main indicator (though many bacteria will have it).
  • Question 3

Image of cell wall structure

 

Plant cells have a cell wall, whereas animal cells don't. The reason for this is that plants need to be supported during their growth by having strong cell walls made from cellulose. Without them, plants would be unable to grow upright as well as they do. 

 

Prokaryotic cells also have cell walls. However, they are not made of cellulose, but long chains of sugars and amino acids.

 

How does the cell wall in a plant differ from a cell wall in a prokaryotic cell? Choose one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
It's made of long chains of cellulose
EDDIE SAYS
Did you read the question carefully? Cellulose is made up of long chains of glucose, and this is used to form the plant's cell wall. The long chains help give strength and structure to the cell wall. The cell wall in a prokaryote protects the cell and maintains its shape.
  • Question 4

Image showing the process of photosynthesis in plants

 

Plant cells are examples of eukaryotic cells. Plants use sunlight for photosynthesis.

 

Which two features do plants not share with prokaryotes? Select two answers only.

CORRECT ANSWER
Chloroplast
Permanent vacuole
EDDIE SAYS
Chloroplasts contain the pigment chlorophyll, which absorbs the sun's light for photosynthesis. Glucose is produced and is used in different ways in the plant, like for respiration. Plant cells also have a permanent vacuole which helps with plant structure.
  • Question 5

Image of animal and plant cell

Compare the structure of animal and plant cells (both are eukaryotic cells).

 

Select all applicable answers in each row.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Animal cellPlant cell
Nucleus
Cytoplasm
Vacuole
Ribosomes
Cell Membrane
Cell wall
Chloroplast
Mitochondria
EDDIE SAYS
That was a tricky one! Although both animal and plant cells are eukaryotic cells, they still have some differences. The chloroplast, vacuole and cell wall are exclusive to plant cells (although prokaryotes do have a cell wall too).
  • Question 6

Image of a prokaryotic cell

The genetic material of Prokaryotic cells is found as a single loop or as a plasmid in the cytoplasm of the cell.

 

What is the job of a plasmid? Select one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
To transfer genetic material easily from cell to cell
EDDIE SAYS
Did you remember the answer? Bacteria is an example of a prokaryotic cell, which often contains plasmids. The plasmid can move from one bacterium to another, allowing greater genetic variation among bacteria.
  • Question 7

Match up the cell's key structures with their description

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Contains the genetic material whi...
Nucleus
Very small structures in the cyto...
Mitochondria
Jelly-like substance that contain...
Cytoplasm
Absorbs sunlight for photosynthes...
Chloroplasts
Makes all the proteins needed for...
Ribosomes
Sometimes called the permanent va...
Vacuole
Made of fibres to make the cell s...
Cell Wall
Controls the substances which ent...
Cell Membrane
EDDIE SAYS
Take the time to remember these key structures of cells, as you are often asked about them in exams. Maybe you can try this question a few times to consolidate your knowledge?
  • Question 8

Study this picture of a bacteria and fill in the blanks below.  

Image of a prokaryotic cell

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Remember, not all prokaryotes are bacteria. Flagella are a good way of identifying a prokaryotic cell, but, again, not all prokaryotic cells have flagella!
  • Question 9

Compare the key features of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Select all applicable answers in each row.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Eukaryotic cellProkaryotic cell
Nucleus present
Cytoplasm
Cell membrane
Plasmid
Mitochondria
Ribosome
EDDIE SAYS
Don't forget that prokaryotic cells do have genetic material, just not in a nucleus. Also, plant cells which are eukaryotic share the cell wall feature with prokaryotic cells, though they're made of different substances.
  • Question 10

Compare and contrast the features of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells by matching up the sentences below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Prokaryotic cells are much smalle...
...than eukaryotic cells
Eukaryotic cells are thought to h...
...evolved from prokaryotic cells
Prokaryotic organelles are not me...
...bound, whereas eukaryotic cell...
Prokaryotic cells have a single l...
...however, in eukaryotic cells, ...
Both cell types have...
...cell cytoplasm and cell membra...
Plant cells and prokaryotic cells...
...however, the vacuole and chlor...
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells ...
...mitochondria in common
EDDIE SAYS
When comparing eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, don't forget your English lessons! Using words such as similarly, in contrast and whereas will help you to connect sentences, especially in the longer 6-mark questions. Great work, you’ve completed another activity!
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