Teachers can use CELLS alive! as a reference for cell biology and a few genetics topics. Though its interface is outdated and inelegant, the site's content can be helpful as a free reference for students. Students can also use the site's quizzes and activities to test their own knowledge.
Though teacher-oriented PowerPoint presentations and downloadable videos can be purchased on the site, their high cost and outdated graphics will unlikely be of much interest.Continue reading Show less
CELLS alive! is a no-frills cell biology and genetics reference site. It contains models, animations, short videos, images, definitions, quizzes, and activities on subtopics such as mitosis and meiosis, plant and animal cells, bacteria, viruses, and the immune system. Most of it is meant to be interacted with on the website itself, but there are a few printable activities. Much is free on the site, but certain things have a cost, such as PowerPoint presentations and some microscopy video clips. The site also links to what seems to be a sister site, GeneTiCs Alive!, which covers a few genetics topics.
For students who don't mind digging for helpful content and assessments, CELLS alive! does contain a short but useful glossary and some basic model animations, and students can test their knowledge through its quizzes and other activities. Its Cell Gallery of images can be a helpful resource as well, and its companion site, GeneTiCs Alive!, covers a few important genetics subtopics (though its lesson on Punnett Squares has yet to be added).
The website's style and interface are extremely outdated, having been designed in the mid-'90s and not updated substantively since. The site also isn't well organized, with the same content being organized in different ways, depending on how you approach it: via the menus, through links on the main page, or through the site map. Also, each informational page has several ads that appear, some of which look much like page content, risking accidental clicks. Students who persevere will find informative materials, but there are much more engrossing and extensive resources on these topics available elsewhere.
Key Standards Supported
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.
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