Science of Food Safety: Understanding the Cell's Importance

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the first of four Science Objects in the Science of Food Safety SciPack. It explores self-replicating life forms, which are all composed of cells. Living cells contain similar types of complex molecules that support the basic activities of life. These molecules interact in a soup, composed of about 2/3 water, surrounded by a membrane that controls what can enter and leave the cell. Cells have particular structures for cell functions, protection, and in some cases the ability to move. A single living cell represents the smallest individual unit of life. Single-celled organisms vary in the complexity of their structure and the amount of genetic material they contain, and populate all environments on Earth in astounding numbers and types. Those with less genetic material and simpler structures are more numerous. Bacteria are one type of single-celled organism that have an interdependent relationship with humans.

  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (5)
  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:51 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Science of Food Safety: Understanding the Cell's Importance Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:57 PM

This guide had great information on the differences in cells, their structures, and importance. Although it was well formatted, and very informational, I felt it a little too complex for my fifth grade classroom.


  • on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:37 PM

Good review, Biology majors might be bored...

Katherine Jezidija-Kendall
Katherine Jezidija-Kendall

  • on Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:28 PM

This science object covers basic differences in cells (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) including structures/organelles. There is a brief basic discussion on the cell membrane and osmosis. Finally, there is information on the numbers and variety of bacteria as well as how viruses are different and not considered alive. I plan on using some of the interactives in my rclassoom and many of the specific bacteria examples are good and informative. As with some of the other objects, though, it would be useful to have a little more in-depth information for high school teachers.


  • on Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:29 AM

As this science object summarizes many of the (obvious) ways we can keep food safe, it also does a nice job of linking food-borne pathogens to public policy. Although it could go a bit deeper on some of the policy issues, this science object provides good background knowledge for teachers of higher grades, though most will need to dig deeper for content for most high school courses.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

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