Mitochondria Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Our cells depend very heavily on mitochondria to produce energy. The video lesson, mitochondria design activity and worksheet will provide an interesting way for your students to learn about mitochondria.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define mitochondria
  • Identify the functions of mitochondria
  • Describe characteristics of the mitochondria


1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.


  • Computer with projector
  • Index cards
  • Copies of the lesson worksheet
  • Student computers
  • Poster board
  • Markers and colored pencils


  • Begin by asking your students to tell you the organelles of the cell. Write them on the board or poster paper.
  • Circle mitochondria and tell your students that they are going to learn about the function of mitochondria as they watch the What is Mitochondria: Definition & Functions video.
  • Play the video for your students and pause it periodically for a couple of discussions.
  • Pause the video at 2:20, then ask and discuss:
    • What other organism did mitochondria develop from?
    • What are mitochondria?
    • What type of membrane do mitochondria have?
    • What is cytoplasm?
    • What type of cells contain mitochondria?
  • Continue playing the video and pause it again at 3:56, then ask and discuss:
    • What do mitochondria do for the cell?
    • What is ATP?
    • What process do mitochondria use to produce energy?
    • What are the other functions of mitochondria in the cell?
  • Read the Lesson Summary to your students.

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