ALEX Lesson Plan


How Does a Cell Maintain Homeostasis?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Angela Festino
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34520


How Does a Cell Maintain Homeostasis?


Science and Literacy standards meet when students make a claim and provide evidence to explain how functions of cell structures maintain a stable environment in the cell. Students read and annotate an article on cell structures and functions prior to writing their explanation. Students construct a logical clear explanation by citing evidence from the article.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Literacy Standards (6-12)
LIT2010 (2010)
Grade: 6-8
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
1 ) Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

a. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.

c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

Unpacked Content
Strand: Writing (WHST)
CCR Anchor:
Text Types and Purposes
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students write arguments focused on discipline-specific content that include:
  • introduction that states the claim and acknowledges and distinguishes opposing claims
  • logical structure for organizing reasons and evidence
  • claims supported with logical reasoning
  • claims supported with accurate and credible sources
  • clear understanding of the topic
  • clear relationships between claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence with words, phrases, and clauses
  • formal style
  • conclusion that follows from and supports the argument
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • argument
  • discipline-specific content
  • introduce claim
  • topic or issue
  • acknowledge alternate or opposing claims
  • distinguish claim from alternate or opposing claims
  • organize the reasons and evidence logically
  • support claims
  • logical reasoning
  • relevant, accurate data
  • relevant, accurate evidence
  • demonstrate an understanding
  • credible sources
  • words, phrases, and clauses
  • create cohesion
  • clarify the relationships
  • claims
  • counterclaims
  • reasons
  • evidence
  • formal style
  • concluding statement or section
  • follows from and supports the argument
Students know:
  • the difference between argument and opinion
  • techniques for selecting the best evidence (accurate data and evidence, credible sources) to support a claim
  • arguments demonstrate an understanding of the topic and state and support a claim
  • techniques for creating cohesion and clarifying relationships among claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence (words, phrases, and clauses)
  • writing style is adjusted based on audience and purpose
  • difference between formal and informal style
  • arguments follow a predictable structure (e.g., introduction that states claim and organizes reasons and evidence, body paragraphs with logically organized supporting claims, and supporting concluding statement)
Students are able to:
  • write an argument to support a claim
  • acknowledge and distinguish claim from alternate or opposing claims
  • use logical reasoning and relevant evidence (credible sources) to support claim
  • demonstrate understanding of topic
  • use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify relationships and create cohesion
  • write with formal style
  • write with a predictable structure (introduction with statement of claim, clearly organized evidence, and conclusion that supports argument)
Students understand that well-developed arguments express a point-of-view and are supported by relevant evidence.
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
Life Science
3 ) Construct an explanation of the function (e.g., mitochondria releasing energy during cellular respiration) of specific cell structures (i.e., nucleus, cell membrane, cell wall, ribosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and vacuoles) for maintaining a stable environment.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L8.1b: All organisms are composed of cells, from one cell only to many cells. About two-thirds of the weight of cells is accounted for by water, which gives cells many of their properties. In multicellular organisms, specialized cells perform specialized functions. Organs and organ systems are composed of cells and function to serve the needs of cells for food, air, and waste removal. The way in which cells function is similar in all living organisms.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Structure and Function
Disciplinary Core Idea: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Use multiple valid and reliable sources for evidence.
  • Explain, based on gathered evidence, the function of specific cell structures and how each organelle helps to maintain a stable environment.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Explanation
  • Structure
  • Function
  • Organelle
  • Nucleus
  • Cell membrane
  • Cell wall
  • Ribosome
  • Mitochondria
  • Chloroplast
  • Vacuole
  • Homeostasis
  • System
  • Valid
  • Reliable
Students know:
  • Function of organelles (i.e., nucleus, cell membrane, cell wall, ribosome, mitochondria, chloroplast, vacuole).
  • Roles of organelles in maintaining a stable environment.
  • Key differences between animal and plant cells (e.g., Plant cells have a cell wall, chloroplasts, etc.).
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including how different parts of a cell contribute to how the cell functions as a whole, both separately and together with other structures.
Students understand that:
  • The function of an organelle contributes to the overall function of the cell, both separately and together with other organelles, to maintain a stable environment.
  • Organelles function together as parts of a system (the cell).
  • Organelles function together as parts of a system that determines cellular function.
  • Energy is required to maintain a stable environment.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Investigating Biodiversity and Interdependence
Studying the Development and Reproduction of Organisms

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.7.3- Label the nucleus of a cell in a cell diagram; distinguish at least one structural difference between plant and animal cells (e.g., cell wall, chloroplasts); match specific cell structures (e.g., nucleus, cell wall, cell membrane) with their functions.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students can construct a response to describe the cause/effect of how function of structures maintain homeostasis in a cell.



Additional Learning Objective(s):

1. Students can state a claim to answer how function of a cell structure maintains homeostasis in a cell.

2. Students can use evidence to support the claim.

3. Students can analyze and defend why or how the evidence supports the claim.


 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Electronic or paper copy of article on "What's in Your Cells?" (See Attachments for copy.)

Electronic or paper copy of "Using Evidence to Construct the Explanation of How Cells Maintain Homeostasis". (See Attachments for copy.)

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with speakers for video "Homeostasis and the Cell Membrane King" and "Getting Ready to Write: Citing Textual Evidence".

Projector for showing video and "What's in Your Cells?" article.


Students need to know what is meant by evidence and how to cite that evidence in paragraph form. 

Teacher: Watch video entitled "Getting Ready to Write: Citing Textual Evidence" to learn how to teach students to write using evidence from textbook.

Teacher hands out copy of "What's in Your Cells?" article or projects it on the board. Teacher models how to analyze a paragraph by reading and thinking aloud. Teacher can underline or highlight words that students may have difficulty understanding and discussing those words.
Students read in partner groups underlining or highlighting words or information they don't understand. Each group shares the information or words they don't understand as a class discussion. Each group shares information gained from the article and answer the questions. Students should choose a different color highlighter or marker to show where they found the answers to the questions in the article. Answers to questions are discussed with the class. By highlighting the answers in the article, students will gain experience locating information and using evidence from a source. This activity will be a bridge for the main activity.




1. Play the video Homeostasis and the Cell Membrane King.

2. Students pair up and discuss how the function of the cell membrane maintains homeostasis in the cell.

3. Hand out attached form "Using Evidence to Construct the Explanation of How Cells Maintain Homeostasis."

3. In pairs, students discuss how the functions of the other organelles maintain homeostasis in the cell. Students can use textbook or educational website, Biology4Kids.

 4. Using evidence from textbook or website, students write an argument explaining how function of an organelle maintains homeostasis in a cell.


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Assessment Strategies

Student's argument must include:

1. A Claim that answers how function of a cell structure maintains homeostasis in a cell.

2. Evidence from the article that supports the claim.

3. Analysis/Reasoning describes why the evidence supports the claim.

The explanation is the claim, evidence, and reasoning written in paragraph form.



Students can write a cause and effect paragraph on what would happen to the stable environment if a structure malfunctions or is missing.


Students can watch video titled What is Text Evidence? to better understand the concept.


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.