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Science Fair Project - Making a Model Plant Cell Pizza

Updated on August 5, 2012
3.8 stars from 5 ratings of Plant Cell Pizza

Making a Pizza Cell

Models are used in science to describe something that is too difficult, dangerous, expensive, large/small to visualise. This is one of my favourite lessons - making a model plant cell out of pizza. Science has never been this delicious!

Not only will kids enjoy making these pizzas, but they should learn some solid science at the same time. Check out the expected learning outcomes below to see what should be learnt in this project.

Who thought biology could be so delicious?
Who thought biology could be so delicious? | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 7 min
Cook time: 12 min
Ready in: 19 min
Yields: Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Ready-made Pizza Base, You can roll your own base, but this will add to the prep time
  • 125g Orange Cheese
  • 125g White Cheese
  • 80g Tomato Puree
  • 6 Green Olives
  • 1 Cherry Tomato/Red or Orange Pepper
  • Sprinkle Oregano

Preparation

Before you start the preparation, set your oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas Mark 6/Fairly hot). You will also need:

  • 1 sharp knife (be careful!)
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 baking tray
  • Oven Gloves
  • 1 Cheese grater

If doing this with children, remind them to wash their hands before and after preparing food.

Visual Step-by-Step

Click thumbnail to view full-size
All you need to make a delicious and edible model of a cellFirst, cut your base into an oblong shapeSqueeze tomato puree around the edge of the baseSpread out the base - add a little puree to the centrePile the white cheese (in this case, Mozzarella) in the middle. Spread your orange cheese around the edgeDot olives (or sliced green peppers) around the white cheesePlace your tomato or pepper at the boundary of the white and orange cheesePlace in oven for around 12-15mins
All you need to make a delicious and edible model of a cell
All you need to make a delicious and edible model of a cell | Source
First, cut your base into an oblong shape
First, cut your base into an oblong shape | Source
Squeeze tomato puree around the edge of the base
Squeeze tomato puree around the edge of the base | Source
Spread out the base - add a little puree to the centre
Spread out the base - add a little puree to the centre | Source
Pile the white cheese (in this case, Mozzarella) in the middle. Spread your orange cheese around the edge
Pile the white cheese (in this case, Mozzarella) in the middle. Spread your orange cheese around the edge | Source
Dot olives (or sliced green peppers) around the white cheese
Dot olives (or sliced green peppers) around the white cheese | Source
Place your tomato or pepper at the boundary of the white and orange cheese
Place your tomato or pepper at the boundary of the white and orange cheese | Source
Place in oven for around 12-15mins
Place in oven for around 12-15mins | Source
  1. Cut the pizza into a rounded-oblong shape (Children take care with sharp knives)
  2. Squeeze the tube of tomato puree to make a line around the edge of the pizza
  3. Grate the orange cheese and pile it around the edge of the pizza base
  4. Grate the white cheese and pile it into the middle of the pizza base
  5. Put the olives evenly around the edge on the orange cheese (or place sliced peppers around the cheese)
  6. Put one cherry tomato on the orange cheese (Red peppers can be used if preferred)
  7. Put the pizza onto a baking sheet and put it into a preheated oven for about 12 minutes
  8. Remove the cooked pizza from the oven. Sprinkle with oregano

Questions to Ask

  1. Does the pizza model look like a plant cell?
  2. What does each part of the pizza model represent?
  3. Are all the main parts of the plant cell present in this pizza model?
  4. Is this a perfect model for a plant cell?
  5. Suggest some improvements to the pizza model

Suggested answers:

  1. It depends!
  2. Olives = Chloroplasts; White cheese = vacuole; orange cheese = cytoplasm; pepper/tomato = nucleus; pizza crust = cell wall; tomato sauce at edge = cell membrane
  3. No - missing mitochondria
  4. No - it is only 2D whereas plant cells are 3D
  5. Could add something roughly the size of the olives to show mitochondria (mushrooms or small sausage slices)

Learning Outcomes

Lower Ability pupils will be able to associate the different ingredients with the different parts of the plant cell. They should therefore enhance their knowledge of the structure of plant cells.

Higher ability pupils should also recognise that this is an imperfect model and suggest possible improvements to the recipe.

Very High ability pupils should be able to create a different edible model for a plant cell and an animal cell

Comments

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    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I always like to see activities which combine different bits of the curriculum and cooking and science are a good combination. At my college the science labs do rapid ice cream making with (I think)dry ice.

    • StellaSee profile image

      StellaSee 4 years ago from California

      Ooh this a neat idea! How come you didn't use more toppings to make more organelles? And Nettlemere, I missed out on making ice cream in my chem class, I wanted to do it so bad!

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 4 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      @Stella See: I could have used all sorts of other ingredients - spaghetti for ER, peppercorns for ribosomes, layered ham for golgi apparatus etc.

      I left these out because the project is aimed at Yr 7 (11yrs old) pupils. In the UK, they are not required to know about the smaller organelles until A level (17yrs old).

      Also, pupils can take this as far as they want through their own research. The key learning is about the appropriateness of the model - they can make a poster saying how it could be improved and why it wasn't originally included.

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 4 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      @Nettlemere: Cross-curricular is the way to go. Science is interwoven with out everyday lives so it seems somewhat artificial to only teach it in distinct 'science lessons'

      Liquid nitrogen ice cream is even better - the faster the ice cream cools, the smaller the crystals formed so the smoother the ice cream.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I wonder if it's liquid nitrogen that they use (I've never seen them do it - I'm always stuck on duty somewhere else and my memory could be faulty)

      Bad luck on missing out making it Stella!

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 4 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      @Nettlemere: It is probably liquid nitrogen, as dry ice won't freeze it fast enough...but I'm not sure!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Bahahaa, this is the best thing ever!!! PIZZA AND SCIENCE!!

      This Hub totally made my day. This would be such a fun family activity- or something really fun to do at science camp or something.

      Should I ever find myself babysitting around dinnertime, I am totally going to try to do this with the kids.

    • profile image

      Natasha Peters 3 years ago

      I love this idea! I'm not a teacher, but I might just torment my family/friends and make this for dinner some time - declining them any food until they've correctly identified all the organelles, of course. Haha!

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