Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Cell Cookies

Dawn Pack


Students create a plant or animal cell they can eat! A cookie, frosting, and candy pieces serve as the cell's parts. Class discussion will lead to the understanding of the cell's parts and the role the cell plays in tissues, organs, and body systems.


The student knows the parts of plants and animal cells.


The store bought materials ran me a little less than $20 at Wal Mart. I had to purchase enough for a class of 23 students and had some supplies left over.
-Paper plates
-Plastic spoons
-Paper towels or napkins
-Sugar cookies or other plain cookies (round-animal cell/ rectangular-plant cell) enough for each child to have one
-Vanilla or some other light colored frosting (cytoplasm)
-String licorice candies (cell membrane)
-Maple Nut Goodies (a Brach candy) or some other candy that is about 3/4 of an inch long (nucleus)
-Good and Plenty or Mike and Ike candies (some will be mitochondria and others will be animal cell vacuoles)
-Green M&M's, Tic-Tacs, or other small green candies (chloroplasts)
-Circus candies or some other rather large candy (plant vacuoles)


1. Purchase supplies
2. Fill each plastic cup with enough candies to create one animal or one plant cell (one nucleus, one cell membrane, and several of the mitochondria, vacuoles, and chloroplasts). If a student is making an animal cell they will have extra pieces.
3. Scoop a small amount of frosting on the spoons and place each spoon on a paper plate.
4. Make copies of the Cell Cookie Lab Sheet and, if desired, the Cell Cookie Quiz
5. If not using the text book for organelle definitions, gather resource books
6. If desks are not arranged in groups, you may want to arrange them before hand or have the students do this before beginning the lesson. Iíve found that there is more discussion between students when they are closer to each other.
7. Place a plastic table cloth on each group of desks (optional).


1. Review the parts of plant and animal cells and their functions:
a. Nucleus - organelles that controls the cells activities
b. Cytoplasm - jelly like substance that contains chemicals to keep the cell functioning
c. Vacuoles - organelles that store food, water, and wastes (In the plant cell, the vacuoles fill with water and push the cytoplasm against the cell wall. This is what keeps a plant upright)
d. Mitochondria - organelles that release energy from food
e. Cell Membrane - a thin covering that holds the cells together (it's semi-permiable, which means it allows a certain substances to enter and leave the cell)
f. Cell Wall (plants only) - a rigid layer that supports and protects the plant cell
g. Chloroplasts (plants only) - organelles that make food for the plant cell

2. Review how similar cells are organized to form structures (for example, tissue, organs) in plants and animals.

3. Hand out the Cell Cookie Lab Sheet. Allow time to fill in the definitions column, using textbooks or other reference materials, and the type of cell they want to create. They should leave the candy column blank at this time.

4. Demonstrate, for the students, how to create their "cell". You may want to demonstrate how to make one of each since some students will make animal cells and some will make plant cells. Students should fill in the candy column as you demonstrate (they should either draw the candies or write the name of the candies). If their definitions are incorrect, allow them to make corrections.
a. Select a cookie (round for animal cell and rectangular for plant cell).
b. Spread some icing on the cookie and explain that the icing is the cytoplasm. Discuss what the cytoplasm is and what it does for the cell (do not use too much icing or you’ll have tummy aches to deal with).
c. If making a plant cell, leave some of the rectangular cookie exposed on the sides. This is your cell wall. Discuss the cell wall and what it does for the cell.
d. Wrap the red string candy around the outside edges of the cookie. This is the cell membrane. Discuss what it is and the job it performs for the cell.
e. The maple-nut goodie is the nucleus. Place it somewhere in the "cytoplasm". Discuss what it is and the job it performs for the cell.
f. Choose one color of the Good and Plenty's to be the mitochondria. Discuss what they are and the job they do in the cell.
g. The other color of the Good and Plenty is the animal cell vacuole. Discuss what they are and the job they perform for the cell.
h. If making a plant cell, place the circus peanut in the cytoplasm. This is the plant cell vacuole. Plant cells have larger vacuoles than animal cells. Discuss what they are and the job they perform for the cell.
i. If making a plant cell, place several green M& M's in the cytoplasm. These are the chloroplasts. Discuss what they are and the job they perform for the cell.

5. Students’ lab sheets should indicate the type of cell they are going to make. While the students are washing their hands, the teacher or student volunteers will pass out the plastic cups filled with the "organelles", the paper plate, spoon with frosting, and a cookie (round for animal cell and rectangular for plant cell).

6. After students return to their desks the they will go through the organelles to be sure they have what they need. While the they check their “organelles” the teacher will review the organelle that each candy piece stands for. Students will place the candies in the appropriate box on the left side of the lab sheet.

7. Instruct students to add the cytoplasm to their “cell”. If they are creating a plant cell, remind them to leave a little space around the edges (this space will represent the cell wall).

8. I recommend adding the organelles together. Teacher and students can discuss the organelle’s function and reinforce the jobs they do in the cell.

9. When all of the organelles have been added to the cells, and before the cells can be eaten, students will place their cookies in the center of their groups. Animal cells together and plant cells together. Discuss how similar cells form tissues. Then, students will get up and join one other group (animal and plant cells should not mix). Discuss how similar tissues form organs. Last, all students will take their cell cookies and stand together (animal cells in one location and plant cells in another). Review how organs work together to form systems, such as the digestive system, circulatory system, excretory system, respiratory system, etc. in the body and stems, leaves, roots, etc. in plants.

10. Instruct students to return to their seats. While they are eating their “cells” the teacher will review the cell parts and their jobs and how cells are organized to form tissues, organs, and systems.

11. Clean up and turn papers in.


Students create a plant or animal "cell cookie" model which contains the following cell parts:
cell wall (plant only)
cell membrane
chloroplasts (plant only)
Students will complete the Cell Cookie lab sheet (see attached file). This lab sheet should identify each cell part (organelle), the organelle's function in a plant or animal cell, and its candy counterpart.
Through class discussion and activity students' knowledge of how similar cells are organized to form structures (for example, tissue, organs) in plants and animals.
Last, students will fill in the information on the lab sheet and write about something they learned in the lesson.
The teacher may stop here or, as a follow up assessment activity another day, administer the
Cell Cookie Quiz (see attached file).


This activity may be used as a center after students have learned about the cell parts.

Web Links

Visual tour of cells includes a look at their life, death and interaction.
Cells Alive

Attached Files

Cell Cookie Lab Sheet     File Extension: pdf

Cell Cookie Quiz     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.