Cells are what could be called the building blocks of life. They are the smallest units of life. Cells are considered to be living things. All organisms are built up with cells. Some organisms are said to be unicellular, meaning the organism is one cell, such as bacteria. All living things come from just one cell which 'reproduced'. Cells divide themselves into two exact replicas to be able to multiply. There are two different types of cells: Animal and Plant cells. These two differ because the organisms do not need or do the same things. And there are also different sub-categories of cells. Each group of cells is unalike. A cheek cell is not the same as a blood cell. However, there is a generalisation in what most plant cells look like and the same for animal cells.

Plant Cell

Cell Wall: this is what gives the plant cell a straight shape. It decides what can come into the cell and what can't, also what can or can't come out. Animal cells do not have this.

Nucleus: this is basically the 'brain' of the cell. It is a control centre. This is where DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) is found. The nucleus decides what chemicals the cell will make and also how the cell will divide.

Cytoplasm: this is the watery substance in which everything is suspended. This is also where all the chemical reactions take place.

Animal Cell

Chloroplast: this contains chlorophyll which is the necessary component plants need to make food. Animal cells do not have these.

Cell Membrane: This is like a skin around the cell which protects it and also acts as a guard, only allowing some chemicals into the cell.

Vacuole: this is just a storage space within the cell. Animal cells have much smaller ones than plants.

Did you know that the name 'cell' was derived from the Latin cellula, meaning 'small room'? The name was coined by Robert Hooke, when he was examining Cork Oak under a microscope. He described the cells as small rooms which resembled the ones monks used to live in.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_(biology), http://www.folens.ie/catalog/book_detail.php?bookid=527 , http://www.folens.ie/catalog/book_detail.php?bookid=91. Pictures from me.

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