Cheek Cells

Apologia Biology Module 1

Yesterday was our first day at co-op and we covered:

  • What criteria is needed for something to be alive.
  • The difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  • The Biological Key.  We went through the key using the raccoon as an example.  The students were able to use the key without any problems.  I think they rather enjoyed it.
  • Using the microscope, which we will go over again next week.
  • Looked at cheek cells under the microscope.

Looking for cheek cells was the fun part of the class.  First we obtained some cheek cells using a Q-tip. I thought the young women would say ewwww…, but they didn’t.


The cells were carefully rubbed onto the clean slide and then a blue stain was applied to the smudge. The blue is so you can actually see the cells.


Once the stain is on, the students carefully placed a slipcover over the area. See How To Make A Wet Mount for instructions on how to properly place a slipcover on the slide.

Now it is time to check out the cells. We started with the lowest objective (4x). I was delighted when I heard the excitement from the students at seeing their first cell, even though it was only a blue dot.

Next came the higher objectives. One student had an excellent sample of the cells. I tried to get a picture, but this is all I could get. The actual cells were well defined.


After this little experiment, one young man decided to go a little further to find out what his nose’s cells looked liked. Don’t ask me why he did that, I just don’t know. lol When the rest of the class found out what he was doing, they all ran over to have a look-see.


The young man on the left is the one who found the best looking cheek cells.  He has a good eye and a steady hand.  I wish I had a way to get a better picture of it.

The first day went well.  I am looking forward to next week.

12 responses to “Cheek Cells

  1. I wish we were doing Apologia Biology this year so we could be doing it right along with you. But alas, we are doing Physical Science. It looks like you had a great first class and it’s no surprise with the great teacher they have :).

  2. That looks like fun. Wish we were there.

  3. Still wish my boy could do this with you. He would love your classes….well until you made him do a write up that is 😀

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your class topics. I am teaching our co-op’s biology class for the first time, and your blog has been a God-send!

  5. Hi-your website made me much less apprehensive about teaching Biology! May I get the test for Module 1 please?
    Thanks so much,

  6. I am going to be helping teach an Apologia Biology class to 4 9th graders this year and am so glad to have your insight. Can you please send me copies of any quizzes that you have? Thanks for taking the time to post your info and experience!

  7. I am looking forward to using your good ideas this year as I am teaching this same co-op. Could I have a copy of the quizes too?

  8. I am teaching the Apologia Biology this year. Your blog is interesting and helpful. Thanks for posting! May I please have copies of your quizzes?

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