Education Outreach

Introduction to Cell Biology

Introduction to Cell Biology

About these activities

This collection of presentations and activities introduces fundamental concepts in cell biology using images of human cells from the Allen Institute for Cell Science. Topics include the link between cell health and human health, differences between healthy and diseased cells, using microscopes to take images of cells, cell image analysis and more. The teaching materials include ready-to-use slideshows for teachers to present, videos of Allen Institute for Cell Science cell biologists presenting the same material, and activities using the open data from the Allen Cell Explorer.

The Allen Cell Explorer is an open data set featuring tens of thousands of research-grade cell images. Students use open data accessible from the site for the activity, and the presentations feature additional images from these datasets. Students are also encouraged to refer to the Visual Guide to Human Cells, an interactive resource developed specifically for students that explores and explains the functions of cell structures.

Healthy Cells, Healthy Bodies

A ~30 minute presentation explaining the links between cells and the whole human body, and between cell health and human health, targeted to grades 6-8.

Download the slides to give the presentation yourself, or play a video for your class of a cell biologist from the Allen Institute for Cell Science giving the presentation.

Grade level: 6-8

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Download teacher notes

Introduction to Microscopy in Biology: ​Viewing cells in 3D with the Allen Institute for Cell Science 3D Cell Viewer

A ~75-90 minute presentation and activity explaining how images of cells are collected in research labs and how scientists analyze those images. Two versions of the activity are provided: a basic version using analysis tools available through the Allen Cell Explorer website (grades 9-10), which is demonstrated in the presentation and in the handout, and an advanced activity using FIJI for more sophisticated quantitative image analysis, which is demonstrated in the handout only. We recommend that students complete the basic version before progressing to the advanced version.

Download the slides to give the presentation yourself, or play a video for your class of a cell biologist from the Allen Institute for Cell Science presenting the activity introduction and the basic activity. The teacher notes download also includes the student handout used in both activities.

Grade level: 9-12 (basic activity), 11-12 (advanced activity)

Download slides

Teacher notes and handouts