The book The Cell provides a visually captivating overview of many of the essential characteristics of cells, making a wide range of complex concepts accessible to non-technical readers. As a high school biology student, however, The Cell can be used as a tool to help us better understand and apply the knowledge that we learn from our textbooks. This reading log will help you reflect on the information provided in The Cell and synthesize these themes with the concepts learned in class.
As you read The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Blocks of Life, you should complete this reading log. Each chapter has a set of questions. Read the questions before beginning each chapter, take notes as you read as necessary, and write out your responses once you have finished the chapter.
Chapter 1: A Brief History of the Cell
Pick one of the early revolutionary scientists mentioned in the chapter and summarize how they contributed to the discovery of the building blocks of life. How did their work contribute to later findings? What was new about their ideas?
Chapter 2: Inside Living Cells
Before reading this chapter, put a checkmark next to the cellular component or process that you understand the least from the following list.
After reading the chapter, briefly describe the function of your selection. What is its purpose? How does it work?
Since the components of a cell are microscopic, it can be challenging to visualize how they function. Create an original analogy to describe the cellular component(s) or process(es) you selected above, such as the Roman mosaic floor analogy that Jack Challoner used to describe the cell membrane on page 34.
Chapter 3: Cells Beget Cells
Why are death and (a)sexual reproduction important to life? What would life be like without death?
Chapter 4: Cellular Singletons
As Challoner states on page 92, “single-celled organisms account for around 95 percent of all the biomass in the oceans and an appreciable proportion on land, too.” What are some of the traits that make single-celled organisms so successful? How are they important to life on Earth?
Describe one fact in this chapter that surprised or interested you. Explain why you found it interesting.
Chapter 5: Coming Together—Multicellular Life
What are the similarities and differences between single-cellular and multicellular organisms?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-cellular versus multicellular life?
Chapter 6: Life, Death, and Immortality
Using the ideas presented in this chapter, explain in your own words how you would define life and differentiate a living organism from an inanimate object. Write out your explanation as if you were speaking to another classmate.
What is a cancerous cell, and how is it harmful to the organism as a whole? What safeguards are there to prevent cells from dividing uncontrollably, and how do some cells evade those systems and become cancerous?
Chapter 7: Taking in the Cytes
Pick another cell type not covered in this chapter (single- or multicellular) and explain how its form matches function. Write out at least three forms and how they relate to the cell’s functions.