Cheek Epithelial Cells

Purpose:  The purpose of this lab investigation is to study an example of an animal cell.  Cells from the inner lining of the cheek are easy to obtain for such a study.

Materials and Methods:  For this experiment, the student will need a clean glass slide, cover slip, toothpick, a microscope, lens paper, and a dropper of methylene blue.  Use the blunt end of the toothpick to scrap the inner lining of your cheek.  Wash the cellular material from the toothpick onto a clean slide with one drop of methylene blue.  Lower the cover slip over the drop carefully to avoid air bubbles. 

Experiment:  Examine the slide on low power first, and then switch to high power.  Your cell at high power should resemble the drawing below.  Select a cell on your wet mount and locate its cell membrane, cytoplasm, and nucleus.  Labels those parts on the model below.




If this cell represents a typical animal cell, in what ways is it different from a typical plant cell?

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