Cell Structure: Cell theory and internal organelles

Cell Structure
Time to complete course: 30 min.

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About Cell Structure: Cell theory and internal organelles Virtual Lab Simulation

What components make your cells unique? In this simulation, you will learn to distinguish the structures and internal organelles of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Physical structures of the four basic animal cell types will be highlighted and the function and importance of each internal organelle will be discussed. 

Investigate a bear’s death

Hikers have discovered a dead bear and it’s your mission to determine why it died. First, freely explore what types of organisms are present in the forest surrounding the bear and observe real microscopic images of their tissues. Determine whether the organisms are unicellular or multicellular and sort the organisms according to whether they have a cell membrane or cell wall. Finally, build the deadly organism by building 4 cells representative of each basic type of animal tissue: neural, epithelial, muscle and connective tissue.

Apply cell theory

Students will be introduced to each principle of cell theory and apply it to understand how the cellular organization of animal cells in the forest compares to algae, mushrooms, plant roots, and leaves. An incoming storm will help you understand the implication of having a cell wall. After additionally categorizing the organisms as prokaryotes or eukaryotes, you will then build larger-than-life versions of each of the four animal cell types on the holofloor.

Challenged to choose the correct internal organelles for the animal cells, you will learn about the function and importance of the nucleus, ER, cytoskeleton, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, ribosomes, and mitochondria.  Then, determine which cellular structures are unique to specific animal cells such as sarcomeres, tight junctions, axons, dendrites and the extracellular matrix. 

Uncover the mystery animal

Put together everything you have learned about organelles and cellular structures to build each type of cell in the mystery organism. Will you find out what killed the bear?

Get Started Now

Explore a forest to discover the cellular structures of various organisms to help determine what a bear ate before it died. Build the structure and choose the internal organelles of the four basic types of animal cells.

Techniques in Lab

  • Microscopic analysis

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Explain cell theory
  • Describe the main differences between the prokaryotes, eukaryotes, plants and animals
  • Describe the different intracellular and extracellular components forming eukaryotic cells

Simulation Features

Length – 30 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English, German, Spanish

Examples of Related Standards


Life Science related 1st year onwards


Supports HS-LS1-4 indirectly


1.1 Introduction to cells
1.2 Ultrastructure of cells
1.3 Membrane structure


Unit 2: Cell Structure and Function

Screenshots of Cell Structure: Cell theory and internal organelles Virtual Lab Simulation


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