What is Cell Biology? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson introduces you to the field of cell biology. Learn about the different areas of cell biology research, and how that research helps living things.

What is Cell Biology?

What do you have in common with an oak tree? More than you think! In addition to your needs for food, water, and oxygen, you are both made of cells. Cells are small units of living material that make up all living things. You have billions of cells in your body, while a single bacterium is made up of one cell. Cell biology is the field of science that studies cells in order to understand how they work. Scientists in this field are called cell biologists.

Cell Structure and Function

One major research area of cell biology is in the structure and function of cells; in other words, what cells are made of, and how they work. Cells are really tiny, but they have parts inside them that are even tinier! These parts are called organelles. Each organelle inside a cell has a different job, and they all work together to keep the cell alive and help it function. Cell biologists may focus on one organelle, or may look at how the organelles interact with each other.

This drawing represents an animal cell. It contains many smaller parts, called organelles, that make the cell function.
animal cell

Making More Cells

Cell biologists also study how existing cells reproduce, or multiply. Living things need to make new cells in order to grow and to repair damaged areas. Many cells do this by making a copy of the material inside of them and then breaking into two cells. This process is called mitosis. Other cells, called germ cells, divide into four new cells through a process called meiosis.

This cell is undergoing mitosis.

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