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Sperm Cell Facts: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:05 Sperm: Only Half of the Story
  • 0:27 Parts of Sperm
  • 2:07 Genetic Code
  • 3:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Torrens
Did you know that sperm are excellent swimmers? In this lesson, learn the unique structure and genetic make-up of sperm that make it ideally suited for creating new humans.

Sperm: Only Half of the Story

While this lesson is about sperm, we cannot possibly discuss sperm without discussing eggs. The sperm is the human male's sex cell. When joined with a human female's sex cell, the egg, it is the very beginning of a new human. The sperm has to travel an incredibly long distance to reach the egg. Luckily, the sperm cell is uniquely built to accomplish this mission.

Parts of Sperm

There are three main parts to the sperm: the head, the midpiece, and a tail, or flagellum. Let's take a closer look at each of them, starting with the head.

The head of the sperm cell contains vital information that must enter the female egg in order to make a new human. At the top of the sperm's head is a chemical hat. It's not really a hat, but it sits on the end of the sperm's head like a hat. When the sperm finally collides with an egg, this hat spills out its chemicals, softening the outside of the egg so the sperm can enter and deliver its vital information.

The head of the sperm is about five micrometers long and three micrometers wide. A micrometer is too small for the human eye to see. The tiniest speck of dust sitting on your desk is about 50 micrometers. So sperm are small. In fact, they're microscopic.

The next part of the sperm is called the midpiece. The midpiece is a section of the sperm that contains the sperm's fuel. There's not actual gas in this part, but rather special structures, called mitochondria. These mitochondria help to generate the enormous amounts of energy needed to move the sperm's tail.

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