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Explain How Cells Use Active Transport

In this worksheet, students will explain how cells use active transport.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Active transport is the movement of substances from an area of low concentration to a higher concentration, either into or out of cells.

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport

 

 

During active transport, carrier proteins in the cell membrane ‘pick up’ particles and move them against the concentration gradient.

As the name suggests, active transport requires energy from the cell, which is made available by respiration.

 

Image showing active transport

 

In the picture above, there are three particles outside the cell and five particles inside the cell. The three particles will be carried through to the inside of the cell by the carrier protein, using energy to do so.

 

 

Uses of Active Transport

 

 Image of villi in intestine

 

During digestion, the villi in the small intestine absorb the nutrients from our digested food. Over time, the concentration of nutrients in the villi becomes equal to the concentration in the gut. The cells need these nutrients, so active transport is used to continue the transporting of the small amounts of remaining nutrients. 

 

Image of root hair cell

 

 

Plants need to absorb minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the soil for healthy growth. When the concentration of minerals in the soil is lower than inside the plant, active transport is used to absorb the minerals against the concentration gradient (from low to high).

If plants used diffusion instead of active transport, the plants would be drained of all their minerals because they would travel down the concentration gradient (high to low) - the plant would lose all its nutrients to the soil. Plants are adapted for absorbing minerals by having root hair cells that have a large surface area, as well as containing lots of mitochondria. The mitochondria is where energy is released during respiration. The energy is used to power active transport. 

 

Image of plant in soil

 

 

Some plants are unable to grow due to waterlogged soil. Waterlogged soil is soil that's received a lot of water, which has caused the soil to become saturated. Nitrates are soluble which means that they dissolve in water. These nitrates will often get washed away, leaving a low concentration in the soil. The plant will use active transport to absorb the nitrates. The problem with this, though, is that waterlogged soil doesn't have much oxygen (the water almost takes over the place and space of oxygen). What's the oxygen needed for? Respiration. When plants respire, energy is released. This energy is needed for active transport. 

 

In the following activity, you will explain how cells use the process of active transport. 

Explain how plant and animal cells use active transport to move important nutrients into their cells.

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences explaining how active transport helps plants to get the nutrients they need.

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in the soil is very ...
...diffusion (because the minerals are in very low...
Root hair cells are adapted to absorb the water ou...
...in water and move around the soil in solution
Minerals such as nitrate ions can't be absorbed by...
...surface area and thin walls
The root hair cells have carrier molecules on thei...
...them into the cell against the concentration gr...

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. The nitrates will move into the root hair cell from the soil.

 

What makes this possible?  

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

Carrier protein

Nucleus

Root hair cell

Energy

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals.

 

Which of the following is a similarity between the processes of osmosis and active transport?

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

Moves down concentration gradient

Energy needed

Transports substances into or out of cells

Carrier protein needed

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion?

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

 

Diffusion would take longer to transport the nitrates

Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil

Diffusion is passive

Root hair cells are highly adapted to carry out active transport.


In the sentences below, unscramble the letters in bold to explain how.

 

1) They have a large (a) aticeconntron of mitochondria, which carry out (b) rtionespira to produce (c) yenerg for active transport.

 

2) They lack other ​(a) ganeorlles that they don’t need, for example, they don’t contain (b) oropchllasts as they can’t (c) ynthesisphotose underground.

 

3) They have a thin cell ​(a) anembmre to (b) edspe up the rate of diffusion and active transport, as there’s a shorter  (c) anstcedi that molecules have to travel across.

 

 

 

 

 123
Unscrambled word (a)
Unscrambled word (b)
Unscrambled word (c)

Waterlogged soil is soil that's received a lot of water, which has caused it to become saturated.  Some plants can't grow very well in waterlogged soil. Waterlogged soil often lacks oxygen. 

 

Explain why oxygen is needed in the soil.

Oxygen is needed for respiration

Oxygen is needed for photosynthesis

Oxygen is needed for metabolism

 

Waterlogged soil is soil that's received a lot of water, which has caused it to become saturated. 

 

Match the sentences below to explain why waterlogged soil causes a problem for plants.

Column A

Column B

Nitrates are soluble
This is needed for respiration
Waterlogged soil doesn't have much oxygen
These are needed for the plant to grow
Nitrates will often get washed away
This is needed for active transport to happen
Respiration provides energy
They dissolve in the water on the saturated ground
Active transport is essential for moving minerals ...
There will be a low concentration in the soil

Plants growing in waterlogged soils are more likely to show signs of nitrogen deficiency.

 

Explain why. 

Waterlogged soils change nitrogen compounds so they can't be used by the plant

Waterlogged soils will dissolve nitrogen compounds so that they get washed away

Waterlogged soils aren't able to respire as well because there is less oxygen present

Waterlogged soils will photosynthesise more

The picture below shows three plant cells. The percentage concentration of carbon dioxide in the cells is shown, and the arrows show the direction in which the carbon dioxide moves. 

 

Explain what type of process is being shown.

 

Image of carbon dioxide diffusing

Waterlogged soils change nitrogen compounds so they can't be used by the plant

Waterlogged soils will dissolve nitrogen compounds so that they get washed away

Waterlogged soils aren't able to respire as well because there is less oxygen present

Waterlogged soils will photosynthesise more

  • Question 1

Explain how plant and animal cells use active transport to move important nutrients into their cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a really important definition to know - how did you get on with it? The key is that the process uses energy to go against the concentration gradient and move particles from a low to a high concentration. Active transport is really important for cells - they're able to get the substances they need for different processes like digestion. Active transport ensures that substances are absorbed regardless of their concentration.
  • Question 2

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences explaining how active transport helps plants to get the nutrients they need.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in ...
...in water and move around the s...
Root hair cells are adapted to ab...
...surface area and thin walls
Minerals such as nitrate ions can...
...diffusion (because the mineral...
The root hair cells have carrier ...
...them into the cell against the...
EDDIE SAYS
There were some tricky facts, but it was possible to match them up by looking at sentence structure, even if you didn't know the facts themselves! Nitrates dissolve in water and can then be moved into the plant through root hair cells. These cells are well adapted for this because they have a large surface area and they contain carrier proteins. This means that the process used is active transport.
  • Question 3

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. The nitrates will move into the root hair cell from the soil.

 

What makes this possible?  

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
Carrier protein
Energy
EDDIE SAYS
Did you think back to the Introduction to work this one out? In the question above, the nitrates are moving from a low concentration to a high concentration, so this must be an example of active transport. Remember that active transport is only possible if there is energy to power the process. A carrier protein is also needed for the particles to pass through the cell's membrane.
  • Question 4

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals.

 

Which of the following is a similarity between the processes of osmosis and active transport?

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

CORRECT ANSWER
Transports substances into or out of cells
EDDIE SAYS
How did you find this first question? There was only one similarity offered here - option three. Osmosis and active transport are similar in that they are used to transport different substances into or out of cells. How they transport these substances is where they differ.
  • Question 5

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion?

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil
EDDIE SAYS
To answer this one, you need to understand which way the molecules move in both diffusion and active transport. Remember that active transport is the movement of particles from low to high concentrations. Diffusion is the opposite, so particles move from high to low concentrations. If this happened here, the plant would become drained of all nutrients.
  • Question 6

Root hair cells are highly adapted to carry out active transport.


In the sentences below, unscramble the letters in bold to explain how.

 

1) They have a large (a) aticeconntron of mitochondria, which carry out (b) rtionespira to produce (c) yenerg for active transport.

 

2) They lack other ​(a) ganeorlles that they don’t need, for example, they don’t contain (b) oropchllasts as they can’t (c) ynthesisphotose underground.

 

3) They have a thin cell ​(a) anembmre to (b) edspe up the rate of diffusion and active transport, as there’s a shorter  (c) anstcedi that molecules have to travel across.

 

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
 123
Unscrambled word (a)
Unscrambled word (b)
Unscrambled word (c)
EDDIE SAYS
This was a bit of a different type of puzzle to solve - did you manage to find all the missing words? The adaptation of root hair cells is a popular topic and there are often questions on it in exams. This is a good activity to try a few times to consolidate your knowledge.
  • Question 7

Waterlogged soil is soil that's received a lot of water, which has caused it to become saturated.  Some plants can't grow very well in waterlogged soil. Waterlogged soil often lacks oxygen. 

 

Explain why oxygen is needed in the soil.

CORRECT ANSWER
Oxygen is needed for respiration
EDDIE SAYS
Think back to your work on plants and all the different processes that happen inside them. Plants need oxygen to respire, which will provide them with energy to power active transport. Do they need oxygen for photosynthesis? No, of course not - oxygen is one of the products of photosynthesis.
  • Question 8

 

Waterlogged soil is soil that's received a lot of water, which has caused it to become saturated. 

 

Match the sentences below to explain why waterlogged soil causes a problem for plants.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Nitrates are soluble
They dissolve in the water on the...
Waterlogged soil doesn't have muc...
This is needed for respiration
Nitrates will often get washed aw...
There will be a low concentration...
Respiration provides energy
This is needed for active transpo...
Active transport is essential for...
These are needed for the plant to...
EDDIE SAYS
You can see from this that waterlogged soil can be a real problem for plants. The issue of waterlogged soil comes up quite frequently in exams, so this is a good question to review your knowledge. It might be one that you do several times to consolidate what you know.
  • Question 9

Plants growing in waterlogged soils are more likely to show signs of nitrogen deficiency.

 

Explain why. 

CORRECT ANSWER
Waterlogged soils will dissolve nitrogen compounds so that they get washed away
Waterlogged soils aren't able to respire as well because there is less oxygen present
EDDIE SAYS
Don't worry if you found this one tricky - there were several options that looked plausible. You need to remember that nitrates are soluble, which means that they'll dissolve in the water. They're therefore more likely to get washed away, so that plants won't be able to actively transport them. Also, waterlogged soils tend to be low in oxygen, which is vital for the process of respiration. This will make it harder for the cells to respire, which will, in turn, make it harder to produce enough energy for active transport to take place.
  • Question 10

The picture below shows three plant cells. The percentage concentration of carbon dioxide in the cells is shown, and the arrows show the direction in which the carbon dioxide moves. 

 

Explain what type of process is being shown.

 

Image of carbon dioxide diffusing

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
It's easy to get muddled up between diffusion, osmosis and active transport! Just remember that active transport is the only process that transports substances against a concentration gradient - from low to high. Well done for completing this activity. Do you feel that you understand the differences between these three processes better?
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