Summer Reading:10 Reasons Why Teens And Adolescents Should Dig In

What is Summer Slide

The long Summer break most traditional schools experience can cause the average student’s learning to regress by one month and is referred to as “Summer slide.” This can spell trouble for the students who have left the apron strings of the elementary school where the focus was on learning to read. Now the game has changed and it means reading to learn instead. The best solution? A Hot Summer Reading List that will keep them wanting to read all Summer.

Educators of younger students are all aware of how important self-selected reading is. Self-explanatory, this method of reading entails the child selecting a book himself, one that appeals to him to enjoy in a comfortable setting. Why should we change this for the older student? While there will probably be required reading assignments for the Summer, the teen and adolescent should make the time to select a few books that they really feel will be enjoyable to them.

It is estimated that even as few as 6 books will keep “Summer slide” at bay and more. Following are 10 good reasons for Summer reading for adolescents and teens along with 6 great books that will keep them engaged.

1. Improving Vocabulary

Summer reading fun can improve vocabulary. In middle and high school, vocabulary words aren’t sight words anymore. They are those “hard” words that show up in the content areas-general science, history, economics, etc. Reading for pleasure provides practice in making connections between familiar and unfamiliar words by using word structure (roots, affixes) and context clues. Studies show that the amount of reading time influences the size of both the reading and speaking vocabulary.

2. Improving Decoding Skills

Summer reading for fun is a good way for the budding middle school student to reinforce the decoding skills they learned throughout elementary school. Once an adolescent is out of grade 4, decoding instruction will likely be reserved for remedial reading classes. The middle school student will be required to read more supplementary materials for learning in the content areas. The vocabulary in these (expository) reading materials will be more difficult to decode than those in narratives.

3. Keeping the Mental Processes Active

Summer reading for fun keeps the mental process active. Scientists believe that attention, memory, and thought rely on the brain’s active neuron patterns. The firing of one memory network causes other memory networks to fire. Impulses travel through neurons and jump from dendrite to dendrite via the synapses in a sort of dominoes fashion. The reader can make connections between events in the story to events in her own life. Activation of related networks in the brain will strengthen the synaptic connections of neurons. It’s sort of the brain’s way of getting exercise. Additionally, a good riveting tale can stir the emotions which will also help connect memory networks.

4. Improving Concentration and Focus

Summer reading for fun can improve concentration and focus. A well-written story of high interest is a good attention grabber. The reader will be focused on the outcome of the story, paying attention to the details that contribute to the plot. The ability to concentrate and focus will essentially help in all subject areas.

5. Reading for Interests

Summer reading for fun is a good way to increase interests and hobbies. As students move through middle and high school career choices become issues. The purpose of school begins to be seen in the context of preparing for the workforce. For example, a story about a sick or wounded animal could spark an interest in veterinary medicine. Or a story about a social issue could encourage volunteering for a cause.

6. Reduce Summer Boredom

Summer reading fun can help reduce boredom. The bored adolescent or teen can get into trouble more easily. Boredom on long hot days can set in, especially toward mid-summer when interest in the beach, pool or lake begins to fizzle. A good story can be entertaining. Unlike TV shows or movies, the written story will be more mentally engaging. It will be like a “movie in the mind” and can stimulate creativity.

7. Reading to Improve Test Scores

Summer reading fun can help test scores. Like it or not, high stakes testing is a fact and is probably not going to go away. Not all high stakes testing is used to determine school funding. Students everywhere must pass the end of course tests, high school competency tests and attain certain scores on the SAT or ACT to get into higher institutes of study.

8. Learning About Other Cultures and Places

Summer reading for fun can create an awareness of other cultures and places. With the internet and travel life has become more global. Chances are the adolescent or teen will travel to other parts of the world. They can “travel in an armchair” and learn about their destinations through descriptive literature. They can “time travel” and read about other times in history and learn how the culture was different.

9. Solving Personal Problems

Reading for Summer fun can help teens with life’s problems. The adolescent and teen years can be bewildering times. New freedom gives rise to new issues. Or sometimes they feel they don’t have the freedom they should have for their age. Peer pressure, bullying, feeling left out of groups, problems getting along with parents and siblings and new attractions to the opposite sex are all issues that many authors write honestly on. Reading about the problems that characters face can be like receiving advice.

10. To Develope a Lifelong Love of Books and Learning

Whether ebooks or paper books, they will always be the door to learning. Kids who learn to love a good book will always have that love.

If you are an adolescent, teen or the parent of one please pick out at least 6 good books that you really think would be fun Summer reading. Don’t forget that required Summer reading list. But do have fun reading! Here are some ideas to get you started.


12 Terrific Ideas For a Red Ribbon Week Door Decorating Contest


Red Ribbon Week Door Decor

Does your school, office, or dorm have a Red Ribbon Week door decorating contest? Need some fresh ideas?

The contest comes around every year along with other activities to honor Red Ribbon Week. It comes around the same time as, you guessed it, Halloween, so it’s not unusual to see a Halloween theme incorporated in the decorations.

History of Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is a week in late October or early November to emphasize and promote drug and violence prevention. It started slowly after the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camereno and his pilot in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1985.

Camereno’s efforts led to the discovery of a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation. Citizens in Camereno’s hometown wore red ribbons in his honor. Clubs were started in California high schools in 1986. Club members presented Nancy Reagan, then the first lady with a proclamation.

The first official Red Ribbon Week was organized in 1988, proclaimed by Congress, and chaired by Mrs. Reagan.


12 Ideas for Red Ribbon Week Doors

1. Drugs will Make You Croak.
A confused frog smashed into the window.


2. The Fortune Teller’s Crystal Ball Says it with Lights

Painted with poster paints on black paper. Your Future will be Bright if you Keep Drugs out of Sight.

3. Warm Hugs Not Drugs

Individually decorated snowmen and snowflake cutouts


4. Oh, The Places We’ll Go

Dr. Suess theme. The good life, drug free.


5. Cool Ninja Turtle

Of course, he’s wearing a red bandana!


6. Your Team Against Drugs.

Your favorite team is in the lead . Drugs score 0.


7. Be a Lifesaver, Not a Dum Dum

Can we eat the candy later? Yes, it’s real.


8. Drugs are a Nightmare

A Halloween theme spelled out on a big yellow moon.


9. Don’t Be Bugged by Drugs

Spooky spiders and bats with googly eyes.


10. Election Day is Around the Corner

The candidates are saying drug free slogans.

11.You Only Live Once

Think twice. A powerful message personalized with photos.


12. A Message with a Halloween theme.

The haunted house, big moon, ghosts, and bats tell the message perfectly.


Organizing The Early Childhood Classroom

The Life of an Early Childhood Teacher


Pay scales for teachers remain a debated issue ranging from merit pay to the traditional yearly step increase. Having teaching experience at every grade level in both general and special education, I have always been a proponent of what I call the “youngest student rule” which states the “younger the student, the greater the pay”. I base my deduction on the fact that the younger the student, the more active supervision they need.

Students in the early grades may have learning disabilities and other problems that have yet to be diagnosed. Maturity can be an issue, and teachers, as well as parents, may overlook a problem just because it is “too soon to tell.” Additionally, budget cuts may increase class size and staff reductions that can really wreck havoc in the life of an early childhood teacher. The teachers assistants can be cut as well as additional support staff. Special area classes such as art, music, and physical education may well be cut making it even more stressful for the EC teacher. Now she must provide that instruction as well as giving up what would have otherwise been valuable planning time.

Early learning is very important. It sets the stage for the entire educational life of the student. An early childhood classroom has some important differences from the elementary classroom organization. A good positive early learning experience provides the basis for life-long learning. That could be another argument for my youngest student pay scale rule.

As I know of no school system that goes by my “early childhood teacher that needs more pay theory” then I shall share some organizational ideas for the early childhood classroom that I hope will help.

Why Stay Organized?


Organization is a key factor in classroom management at any grade level and will ensure smooth operating all through the day. The well-organized classroom fosters improved instruction and promotes better student behavior. If the teacher has to stop and look for materials, then what educators refer to as downtime can occur. Students will not be engaged in the lesson. Therefore, a lack of good instruction can cause behavior problems.

The teacher of young children will make hundreds of decisions during a typical day. Thousands of thoughts will pass through her mind. A well-organized classroom can help a teacher concentrate on the lesson to be taught and the needs of the students.

Organization will mean smoother transitions between activities. Less time will be wasted. Young students will feel more secure and happier. The teacher, in turn, will be less tired at the end of the day and have more energy for herself, her family and for preparing for the next day’s activities. It is a win-win situation!

Take a picture tour of one super teacher’s classroom to spark ideas for organizing an early childhood classroom.

Students start the day with assigned and attractive places for storing personal belongings.


Tables are best for seating in an EC classroom, allowing efficient traffic flow. Carpeted flooring is comfy and cozy for sitting on the floor at circle time.



Four early childhood students work comfortably at a table four by two feet. Names tags are on wide clear tape for durability.


Built-in shelves house lots of plastic storage containers holding everything from crayons to flash cards.Tree shaped sentence strip holder utilizes space well.



A Circular table is a space-saving way to include computers in the EC classroom. Covering bulletin boards with cloth keeps ugly rips and tears away, saving time




Calendar math is a bulletin board, large group instruction area and a learning center all-in-one. Students learn a multitude of math concepts in one place.


Concept maps help organize learning material for young minds.


Horseshoe table is a must for small group instruction. The bags on the table contain individual reading materials that students transport from home to school.


Store math manipulatives in good-sized plastic storage containers. A must have for manipulatives and small learning tools.


Leveled readers neatly displayed in color-coded boxes.


Sturdy wooden Big Book holders are available from educational specialty stores. Big Books are great for read-alouds.



Slip-on pouches on chairs are great for storing student materials. Turn one end of a pillow sham inside out and slip it over the top of the chair.


Plant Cell Project Ideas: Plant Cell T-Shirt


Making a Plant Cell Model

If you have an older elementary or middle-school student or will have someday, you will probably find yourself helping her create a plant or animal cell model project. And if you visit the science fair, you will be amazed at the creative ways kids come up with to make the cell models.

Styrofoam, empty toilet paper rolls, old batteries, clay and other items are used to represent the cell wall, cell membrane and all the organelles in the cell.

Then there are the edible ones like animal and plant cell cakes or jello ones with candies that represent the various parts of the cell.

Or, make an animal cell t-shirt instead.

Make a Plant Cell T-Shirt

But how about one you can wear? That’s the idea we came up with for our plant cell model. Start with a plain white t-shirt. You will need fabric markers for labeling and fabric glue for gluing.

Begin by making a pattern for the cell and the large central vacuole. Trace and cut these out of craft felt. Glue the cell on the front, then glue the large central vacuole on the cell. Use ribbon, yarn or green fabric marker for the cell wall and cell membrane.

From here, you will pick and choose items from things like felt, bows, buttons, pom poms, chenille stems, etc. for your plant cell organelles. Here is a chart listing what we used for each part of our plant cell model.

Tip: Place light cardboard or newspaper inside the t-shirt to keep the front and back from sticking together.




Cell Part
Material Used
Light green felt
Cell Wall
Green ribbon
Cell membrane
Green fabric marker
Large central vacuole
White craft felt
Vacuole membrane
Green chenille stem
Yellow felt circle
Medium purple pom pom
Smooth endoplasmic reticulum
Narrow light purple ribbon
Rough endoplasmic reticulu,
Purple plastic beads
Tan felt oval / red chenille stem
Green felt oval /yellow chenille stem
Druse crystal
Small white pompom/tiny green pom pom
Golgi apparatus
Pieces of orange chenille stem
Golgi vesicles
Tiny green pom poms
Clear plastic beads
Raphide crystals
Pieces of sparkly green chenille stems
Purple button

Plant Cell T-Shirt Photo Tutorial

Use hot glue instead of fabric glue if necessary for heavier material.
A craft felt circle with a pom pom makes the nucleus and nucleolus.
Green ribbon makes the cell wall. Color in the cell membrane with a green fabric marker.
The plant cell and organelles
Embellish the crew neck.


Cutest Polar Bear Cupcakes Inspire Learning Cool Polar Bear Facts

Polar Bear Cupcakes~made with white-frosted cupcakes with coconut fur. marshmallow muzzles, raisin noses and lemon cooler cookies for ears.


It is well after Christmas, and the new toys are no longer the ‘flavor of the day.’ Spice up the cold season for the kids by making the cutest polar bears cupcakes.

Making these cute cupcakes that look like polar bears will leave them wanting to learn some fun facts about polar bears and their fight to survive.

Cupcakes can make any day better. Stuck at home on a snowy day, a white, frozen world presents a teachable moment to learn facts about polar bears, who thrive in what we shiver in.

Polar Bear Cupcakes

We love to invent cute cupcakes for kids. Those cute little polar bear cubs inspired us to create polar bear cupcakes. These are entirely original and come from somewhere inside our creative little heads.

Here we share how to make our polar bear cupcakes as well as a cool list of polar bear resources to learn about them with. Watch a video here and check out the Polar Bears Resource section while snacking on polar bear cupcakes.



What We Used to Make Polar Bear Cupcakes

  • White cake mix, use yellow if preferred
  • Egg whites, oil, and water
  • Fresh frozen or grated fresh Coconut, can use dry flakes, but not as good
  • Marshmallows, regular size
  • Mini M&Ms, chocolate
  • Golden raisins
  • Lemon coolers, cookies
  • Chocolate icing


  1. Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Cool
  2. Ice with vanilla frosting.
  3. Sprinkle on fresh coconut.
  4. Slice a marshmallow in half horizontally.
  5. Add two lemon cooler cookies for ears.
  6. Add the marshmallow half for the bear’s muzzle
  7. Use a tad of frosting to attach a golden raisin for the nose.
  8. Add mini M&Ms for eyes.
  9. Pipe on a chocolate frosting mouth. (We just put the frosting in a sandwich bag with a small tip cut out of the corner).


Polar Bear Facts

Polar bears live in a frozen arctic world. They eat seals and some other arctic sea life, and do so by going from ice floe to ice floe. Polar bears are now considered a threatened species, meaning that they are likely to become endangered. We know what that means. Those beautiful amazing animals could become extinct if action is not taken.

As the earth has begun to warm, these large chunks of ice that they climb aboard to do their fishing for food on are floating around faster and further apart. The poor creatures are wearing themselves out like we would if we had to wander around in circles for days looking for our food source. Some say that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame, others argue that the warming of the planet is a natural occurrence. We believe it is a little of both.

We found some fantastic resources online to explore. There are great interactive websites like National Geographic for Kids. Videos show the polar bears in their frozen world.

Polar Bear Learning Resources

  1. Read facts, see photos and videos, make and send an e-card and more at National Geographic for Kids.
  2. An experiment with ice cubes demonstrates how these animals are threatened.
  3. Kids can adopt a polar bear by donating to Oceana, an organization dedicated to research on how to save the polar bear. Kids receive adoption papers and a plush polar bear.


President’s Day Ideas For Kids: Washington and Lincoln Cupcakes

President’s Day Activities for Kids

President’s Day is a great time to impart some knowledge and appreciation of history and our founding fathers. Youngest to oldest can participate in activities that help them become aware of our greatest presidents.

Each February, we honor not only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were born in that month but all the other US presidents as well. Kindergartners make projects like Washington’s three-cornered hat and Lincoln’s “stove pipe” hat. Older kids do wonderful Powerpoint presentations of a chosen president.

President’s Day Cupcake Idea

Kids of all ages will love making and eating cupcakes that look like George and Abe. Caramel icing mixed with white (and a little red for Washington’s ruddy skin tone) are the frosting used. Dabs of blue and red, a white cake gem nose and edible googly eyes are used for the faces. Lincoln’s beard is chocolate chips and Washington’s white wig is mini marshmallows. Lincoln’s hat is formed from a snack-size Hersey bar. Washington has a high collar of white icing with a chocolate chip button.

We tossed in some white-frosted cupcakes with red and blue sprinkles to make our display a little more patriotic. Hail to the Chief!

Use President’s Day cupcakes as a part of this President’s Day Thematic Unit ideas

Ingredients for President’s Day Cupcakes

  • One box White or Yellow cupcake mix, Or use your favorite cake recipe
  • One container Duncan Hines Frosting Creations frosting starter
  • One package Frosting Starter caramel flavor powder, this comes in a small, separate envelope
  • Food color, red, blue
  • Snack size Hersey bars, not miniatures
  • Cake gems, small, white
  • Candy googly eyes
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows, white
  • Decorator icing, white

George’s wig is fashioned from white mini marshmallows

George’s high, white color is piped on with white icing. Add a chocolate chip “button.”

Add white icing “eyebrows” with a toothpick.

Abe’s stovepipe hat is made from a Hershey bar.

His beard is formed from chocolate chips.

Both of the famous US president’s eyes are edible google eyes. Pipe on a little icing for eyes and mouth.

Advantages Of The Flipped Classroom: The Latest Technology For Teachers


What is a Flipped Classroom?

All across the nation and beyond, teachers are experimenting with flipping the classroom. No, not literally like this silly photo. They are flipping instruction. The basic concept is quite simple. Homework gets done in the classwork while class instruction occurs at home.

With the flipped classroom concept, the teacher becomes less of a “sage on the stage” and more of a “guide on the side.” This is done by having students watch pre-recorded lessons on screen or podcasts online at home. The next day, class lecture time is freed up to have the students put their newly acquired knowledge into practice.

Technology in the Classroom

Technology has changed the way we do everything, and education is no exception. Flipping the classroom can be as simple or as elaborate as the teacher wants to make it.

Low-tech teachers can flip classroom instruction with a simple-made video he or she makes, or choose one from shared files. High-tech teachers will explore software and technologies to enhance the flipped classroom learning experience.

This enhancement can be in the way of shareware such as Edmodo or learnspace. These sites are like having facebook accounts private to you and your students. Teachers can post quizzes, due dates, etc. on line. Students can post and form groups for working on projects together. Files too large to share by email can be sent.

Videos can be viewed on computers, laptops, iPads Smartphones, etc. Students with no computer access (rare these days) can be given a spot in the classroom, computer lab or media center. This is also a good place for students who may need to review the material while in school.


Advantages of Flipped Instruction

Flipped instruction can be used in almost any classroom to a degree. Just remember the basic concept. Classroom instruction becomes homework and homework becomes classroom work. This frees up much time for active learning in the classroom. Teachers can plan hands-on activities for students that will allow them to develop higher-order thinking skills. Some of the ways to actively engage students in the classroom after viewing lectures on a video are as follows.

  • class discussions
  • debates
  • think-pair-share
  • cooperative learning
  • surveys and polls
  • graphing and displaying data
  • visual arts projects
  • low or high tech presentations
  • experiments
  • research projects

Unlike classroom lectures, online lessons can be reviewed from as far back as the beginning of the lesson if necessary. They can even be reviewed before major exams. Parents will love having the change in homework. Struggling through trying to work problems or answer questions about forgotten classroom lectures are eliminated. They can even view the videos themselves in order to be better able to help children understand the lesson content.

Although the flipped classroom is relatively new, results of studies are showing improvements across the board from better test scores to lowered drop-out rates in schools that have implemented flipped instruction.


Who Gets Credit for Flipped Instruction?

Two chemistry teachers from Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colorado, Johnathon Bergmann, and Aaron Sams are credited with the seed that planted the idea of the flipped classroom.

The two teaching buddies collaborated often on ways to deliver instruction. In 2007, they discovered software that allowed them to share Powerpoint presentations for students who had missed instruction.

This grew into the idea of presenting lecture online and follow-up work in the classroom.

Setting the ground work, Eric Mazur developed peer instruction back in the 1990s. He used computer-aided instruction to coach instead of lecture,

In 2000, Lage, Platt and Treglia published “Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment”.

Beginning in the fall of 2000, the University of Wisconsin used tutoring videos as part of their instruction in a computer sciences course. In 2011, two centers were built at the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning to study and promote flipped classrooms.

Tips for Flipping the Classroom

  1. Provide opportunities for students to gain exposure before the lecture video. This can be as simple as textbook reading or Youtube video or as technical as a Powerpoint presentation or podcast. This serves as an anticipatory set for the lesson.
  2. Provide incentives that will motivate students to prepare for class. Give points or privileges for completing the pre-class activity.
  3. Include informative assessment to evaluate student understanding throughout the lesson. This can be done with online quizzes, paper/pencil quizzes, written responses to essay-type questions and other informal assessments.
  4. Use informal assessments for forming groups and peer tutoring teams.
  5. Use activities following the videos that include higher-level critical thinking skills. Find activities that cause them to evaluate, summarize and synthesize newly learned information,
  6. Use strategies that incorporate student-to-student learning such as peer tutoring, cooperative learning, and think-pair-share.

Sample Plan for Flipped Instruction

The objective is to understand and apply the scientific method. Students will identify dependent variable, independent variable, control group, hypothesis,


  1. Build motivation and create a “hook” for anticipating learning with a Powerpoint presentation or textbook reading. Include a short quiz either online or with pencil/paper. Whatever your level of technology is at this point. Don’t worry, there is no need to be a techie to do this. Give points for completing the presentation.
  2. Create or import a lesson/lecture on the basics of the scientific method. It’s a good beginning.It is best if you make these videos yourself, but it’s OK to use other videos Check for understanding with a quiz, online or paper/pencil.
  3. Review with questioning at the beginning or class
  4. Assign directions for a project:
  5. Purpose: Create a lab to demonstrate the scientific method using a simple paper airplane.
  6. Make a hypothesis: Decide on a plan and make a prediction based on the procedure you have developed to use the paper airplane.
  7. Develop a plan that demonstrates the scientific method. Try to create a table and a graph to record collected data. Have students do 10 trials.
  8. Have students write two paragraphs analyzing collected data.

Final Thoughts on Flipping the Classroom

Have fun with this cool new idea. Start off slowly if you are “tech shy.” Just remember the basic idea of the flipped classroom, and it will make sense. It could turn your teaching right side up and make more sense to you and your students.



Saint Patrick’s Day Unit Ideas

spring 9
Shamrock paper weaving in the creation station.


Saint Patrick’ s Day is celebrated all over the world by many different religious and ethnic groups. They even have a huge parade in Tokyo. Because it comes in March and is so associated with the color green, most consider it to be the first spring holiday, although it is technically late, late winter.

Kids can learn a lot of interesting information about Saint Patrick and the history of this holiday with the following books read to them.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola

The Story of Saint Patrick’s Day by Patrica A. Pingry

Saint Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons


Writing Learning Station

After making a list of words associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, place the chart in the writing center for students to make sentences with. Older or more advanced students could use them to write a story. List words such as shamrock, leprechaun, rainbow, Irish, etc.

Rainbow Math Station

Use fruit loops with the colors of the rainbow as math manipulatives.  They can be counters, used for sorting, patterning and much more!

spring 2

 Literacy Station

For the youngest students, put the list of words associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the literacy station on word cards. Students can trace or copy them, or use magnetic letters and board to make the words.

Creation Station

Kids like to do paper weaving. Have directions and materials to make a woven shamrock. This may need to be at a teacher or assistant’s supervised station for younger students. 

Have materials and a sample for making a torn paper rainbow collage. Glue on white or blue paper and add cotton balls for clouds. Students can use them in the Writing Station to write stories about leprechauns and rainbows.

spring 1


Math Station


Have precut pots,  strips colored paper, and white cupcake holders for kids to make the pots of gold. The cloud is a white cupcake holder. Students glue on paper coins to make the amount of money written on the back of the pots.


Spring Unit Homepage

Books For Learning About Saint Patrick’s Day

Animal Cell Diagram Project: Make An Animal Cell T-shirt

Wear Your Animal Cell Diagram Project to School!

Do you need a really cool and original idea for your animal cell diagram project? Gather some buttons, baubles, and bows and create an animal cell project that you can wear to class! Or check out making a plant cell t-shirt here.

We used craft felt, yarn, pom poms, and other sewing craft items to create our animal cell t-shirt. Just use a plain white t-shirt, fabric glue, and fabric markers and let your imagination loose to create your very own animal cell t-shirt!


Insert cardboard or newspaper inside the t-shirt first. That way the glue won’t stick the back to the front. 



We cut and glued on the cytoplasm from a piece of yellow craft felt. The cell membrane is a strip of red yarn.

11 (1)

Golgi apparatus is 5 pieces of yellow chenille (pipe cleaner) stems. Golgi vesicles are 5 tiny yellow pom poms. 
A large white pom pom encircled with a strip of green yarn is our lysosome. 

Medium-size yellow pom poms are pinocytotic vacuoles. 
13 (2)The nucleus is made with a large orange pom pom and a brown medium-size pom pom glued to the center is the nucleolus. 

Yellow yarn is the smooth endoplasmic reticulum.  Clear plastic beads are ribosomes and create the rough ER. 

9 (1)

Pieces of white pipe stems are the microtubes. Two pink buttons are the Centrioles. Nine red dots around each button form the microtubules.

13 (1)

Mitochondria is fashioned from 2 colors of felt, tan and brown. There are three layers all glued on the largest bottom piece.


Make your wearable animal cell project just like ours, or use different materials and colors to create your very own animal cell t-shirt!

 Animal Cell Diagram


Plant Cell Cake: Make A Healthier Version

Plant Cell Model Cake with Fresh Fruit

Middle and high school students usually have to create plant and animal cell models using Styrofoam, craft items or objects they find around the house. Tastier models are sometimes created like cakes or jello and candy.

Our plant cell cake is a bit on the healthier side than those that use candies and globs of icing to model the organelles. Yes, we iced the cake with tinted green frosting and colored decorating gels, but our organelles are all fruit with the exception of  a few min-marshmallows and a little chocolate drizzling.


Plant Cell Cake Project

The other classmates will be impressed with this yummy plant cell model cake.  Bake it in an aluminum cake pan to take to school and share. It is also a great project for homeschoolers. Have your plant cell cake for family dessert. What a tasty way to learn about plant cells! Just mix up your favorite cake in a 13 x 9 inch pan.  If food dye isn’t a concern, consider making it a green velvet cake. Now gather fruit and other cake decorating  items and get creative with this healthier version of a plant cell cake.

plant cell 1

Central vacuole, Cytoplasm, Cell Wall and Cell Membrane

Dark, light and medium green tinted icing will be the large central vacuole, cytoplasm and cell wall. A little green gel or green sugar creates the cell membrane.

pcell 2

Outline the large central vacuole with decorating gel. We used yellow.


Golgi Apparatus and Golgi Vasicles

The golgi apparatus and golgi vasicles are tangerine slices and golden raisins.


Chloroplasts and Mitochondria

Our chloroplasts are kiwi slices.


Yummy mitochondria are strawberry slices drizzled in chocolate.


Nucleus, Nucleolus, Smooth and Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum and Ribosome

The nucleus is a plum half  pitted to hold a large purple grape nucleolus. We used purple decorating gel for the smooth endoplasmic reticulum and blueberries on gel for the rough er. Blueberries also create the  ribosome.

Druse Crystal


Need a tasty Druse crystal? Simply chop up green lime-flavored mini-marshmallows.



Now add a grape amyloplast and your plant cell cake and voila! Your plant cell cake is complete!

Get Creative With Science: Recommended By My Creative Palette