- Virginia Johnson
Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find microbes made of simple cells—not little green men—and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.
Animal or vegetable?
Plant cells and animal cells work differently. Plants have the special ability to turn sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll and carotene give plants their color, but they also allow plants to absorb sunlight. Plant cells have organelles (specialized organs) called chloroplasts which process the energy during photosynthesis, allowing them to live and grow. Animal cells never contain chloroplasts. Since the food won't come to them, animals have to have some ability to move so they can get to their food. Chloroplasts are what separate a leaping lion from a weeping willow and a grazing zebra from a field of clover.
Cells are truly the building blocks of life! Find out more about cells online and in the library with our list, CRRL Kids: Getting Cellular.