Cells are the Mini Version of the Big Thing

Cells are the Mini Version of the Big Thing

Scientists and biology teachers make cells seem like the best kept secret on earth. That is until there is some major health problem or it’s time for a test. 

Now it’s not that hard to understand once it’s broken down to a basic level. This is the basic level right here.

Cells are very small versions of very large things. A long time ago, some say around 4 billion years ago, the very first living things on earth were single cell animals.  https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2018/01/31/581874421/be-humbled-our-oldest-ancestors-were-single-celled-organisms

Things on earth were not so calm and easy during that time, so the cells had to change constantly to survive.  Think of it as surfing on a giant wave during a tsunami in the middle of a hurricane. Things were really rough! All cells are alive, from the ones that make the grass, mushrooms, algae and plants to the ones that make insects, animals and humans! There are not just two or three cells that make these living things around you, it’s billions and trillions of cells!

When you think of a cell, I know you just think of a round clear circle with a small dark-colored circle in the middle. A cell is way more than that! It is a mini version of a complex animal. Some cells even have feet that they use to slowly walk to their food to eat (amoeba)! https://rsscience.com/facts-about-amoeba/

Let’s start with the clear part of the cell, the cytoplasm and the cell membrane. The cytoplasm is the largest part of the cell. You can call it the cell’s body.  The cell membrane is the wall around the cell. It keeps its contents inside or keeps unwanted things out, just like you have skin covering your body to keep everything inside and bad things out. There are organs inside the cytoplasm usually referred to as organelles-small organs and they function somewhat like the organs do in your body. 

The nucleus is what you would call the brain of the cell. It contains the DNA and serves as the cell’s command center. The DNA is the memory of the cell and has the information needed to multiply. 

The mitochondria is responsible for producing a chemical called ATP which provides energy for the cell. Cells have hundreds of mitochondria that are covered by a membrane. It also has mitochondrial DNA. Think of this as the digestive system of the cell. If you look at it under a microscope, it looks like the digestive tract in mammals.

The Golgi body is another large organelle. It stores the lysosomes which digest and recycle toxins and waste. They contain proteins that break down amino acids, carbohydrates and phospholipids.  Whenever the cell dies, it self-destructs using its lysosomes.

The vacuole is the sanitation and water storage of the cell. It is the organelle that excretes the waste and stores the needed water for the cell. The large intestine has the same function in mammals.

Ribosomes function similar to the nucleus. They assist with translating the RNA, which comes from the DNA, into protein by sticking amino acids together. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320878#division

If you were a plant, then you would have this organelle-a chloroplast! The chloroplast allows the energy from the sun to produce food for the plant. That is why plants are green and you are not! Plant cells also have cell walls that keep all the organelles and water in and keep unwanted things out. 

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/cells-and-versatile-functions-their-parts/

Now you should have an idea of what a cell is and how it is a miniature version of every living creature. You know the parts of the cell and how they function and you shouldn’t have a headache from learning about it. Our bodies replace 33 billions of cells everyday. You have a complete replacement in 80-100 days. Do you realize that there is a new you every 2 ½ to a little over 3 months?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/our-bodies-replace-billions-of-cells-every-day/

It’s time to celebrate the new you!  With a little practice, you should be ready for bigger things now. 

Blood: The Trucking Company of the Body

By Verhonda Wiltz

I know, you have never thought about your body in this way. Most of us don’t know how our body works or even care…. Until it stops working as it should!  Most of the time, when it’s not working at its best, it’s hard to get it repaired and back on track. So, it’s best to maintain it and keep it in good shape. In order to do that, you need to understand how it works.  Let’s start now with your blood.

Blood is the trucking company of your body. Think of it as a fleet of trucks and trailers. The blood cell is the truck/tractor, and the iron that is attached to the cell is the trailer.  It carries fuel, gases and other chemicals to your whole body and removes wastes from your body too. Blood travels along a superhighway of blood vessels called arteries, mainly used for deliveries, and veins for pickup.  There are also streets off the highway called arterioles and capillaries. Your body has over 60,000 miles of highway inside you.

The main business office for the blood trucking company is in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is deep in the center of your bones.  This is where your blood is made and released/dispatched onto the highway. 

The kidneys are the truck wash for the blood/truck. They clean the blood of all wastes and inspect and work with the spleen on removing old worn out blood cells/trucks from the highway. When it’s time to replace the blood cells/trucks, the kidneys dispatch a message to the bones/business office and new blood cells/trucks are released on the highway.

The spleen is the blood recycling center for old, worn out blood cells.  The spleen has a highway maintenance crew that repairs the highway when it gets holes, burns and scrapes in it. The highway must be kept smooth at all times to prevent traffic jams and multi-truck accidents. It also has a hazardous material crew that it sends out when infections occur. 

Now that you have the main operation procedure down, we will now follow a normal route of a red blood cell.  We will start with a new blood cell/truck.

Red Blood Cell with iron = Truck with Trailer

The first assignment for the blood cell is to take the highway from the bones to the lungs for oxygen/air.  Traffic should flow smoothly because the highway only flows in one direction.  The blood cell/truck must first pass through a highway roundabout exit called the heart that leads the blood cell/ truck to the lungs. When the blood cell reaches the lungs, it turns onto one of many of the veins/streets and loads the oxygen/air into its trailer. Then it leaves the lungs by turning onto the arterioles/streets, goes back to the highway roundabout entrance at the heart and begins its trip to deliver the oxygen/air to one of the many other cells and organs of the body.  These blood cells/trucks are very fast!  They do this in less than one minute when you are resting, and much faster if you are running or scared!  

The next stop is to deliver this oxygen/air to the digestive system organs. The food processing center! The first stop is to deliver the oxygen/air to the stomach cells. That really doesn’t take much time at all. Then it is sent to the liver/sorting warehouse of the body to pick up some fuel called glycogen and deliver it to the leg muscle cells.  The blood cell/truck passes through an inspection weight station before leaving the liver to be sure the truck is running well and can deliver the fuel. If it is running well, it will take the glycogen to the leg muscle cells.  Don’t forget that there are millions of these red blood cells/trucks on the highways of your body making deliveries and pickups all the time. They even work when you are sleeping!

Now the blood cell/truck has made it to the leg muscle cells and delivered the glycogen, it must pick up some waste/carbon dioxide.  There are other types of waste that your body makes, but for the sake of time, we will take the carbon dioxide and deliver it to the lungs to be dumped outside the body. The blood cell/truck gets back on the highway and follows it south until it turns onto the veins and then heads north back to the heart.  It makes its exit at the highway roundabout again inside the heart, to the arterioles and delivers its load of carbon dioxide to the lungs where it is pushed out of the lungs, through the nose into the air.  

Every so often  it makes a delivery to the kidneys for waste dumping and gets an inspection at the spleen for best highway function. 

If it doesn’t pass inspection, usually every 20 days, it gets removed from the highway and sent to the spleen for recycling. 

Remember when I mentioned that the highway had to be kept smooth and the spleen was in charge of the maintenance crew? We are now going to talk about that maintenance team/crew.

The team consists of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets-small round shield shaped cells. This team patrols the highway and the streets to keep them smooth. If they find an area that needs repairing, they close the damaged area off and narrow the area while they work.  The white blood cells clean the area of dirt, germs and anything that is not a red blood cell, white blood cell or platelet. Some red blood cells bring fibrinogen, a special chemical that combines with the platelets to make a patch.  The team stays there until the patch is dry. Then the crew moves down the highway where they are needed next. 

Now we will get to the big part about this trucking company.  What do you have to do to keep this company going? How do you keep your fleet of trucks at their best?

This company needs lots of water! It keeps the highway smooth and free of traffic jams, and the kidneys need water to wash the trucks inside and out. 

=

Kidneys = Truck wash

Water is also needed for highway and street repairs.  So start by drinking lots of water every day. 

It is also important to eat foods with lots of iron. Spinach, collard, turnip, mustard greens, broccoli, fish, nuts, grapes, raisins, eggs and some red meat- beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sweet potatoes, turkey, quinoa and oats to name a few. You must remember that these foods are great, but you cannot eat them with cheese or drink tea or milk while you eat them. The iron washes out of your body if you do.

Small Pictures of Iron Sources For Kids

Sleep is when most of the inspections and repairs happen, so allow enough time for these processes to be done.  Exercise keeps the blood cells/trucks moving on the highway and prevents traffic jams and accidents. It’s important to keep moving! 

Now that you know about your blood, the trucking company of your body, it’s time to get it in top shape!

References

https://babyfoode.com/blog/iron-rich-foods-babies-toddlers-kids/#best-baby

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/how-wounds-heal

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/what-are-platelets-and-why-are-they-important

https://www.lornelabs.com/news-events/blog/the-journey-of-a-red-blood-cell

https://reverehealth.com/live-better/how-body-systems-connected/

Images

http://clipart-library.com/clipart/415438.htm

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/clker-free-vector-images-3736/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=24360″>Clker-Free-Vector-Images</a&gt; from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=24360“>Pixabay</a>

https://pixabay.com/illustrations/red-blood-cell-rbc-erythrocyte-1861640/

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/truck-wash”>Truck Wash Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/human”>Human Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/spleen”>Spleen Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/recycling”>Recycling Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

https://www.healthylittlefoodies.com/iron-rich-foods-for-kids/

The Two Sisters’ Treasure

Debbie and Sonya were two sisters walking home from school one day when the found a

dollar bill on the sidewalk. They looked around to see if someone nearby dropped the

money, but there was no one in sight. Debbie decided she would carry the dollar home

until they could decide how to spend the dollar. Sonya did not like Debbie carrying

the dollar so she grabbed the dollar. Debbie grabbed the dollar back and this went

on until one of them dropped the dollar and a gust of wind blew the dollar into the

gutter and down the storm drain. Debbie and Sonya were sad at their loss. Mrs.

Davis, the neighbor across the street watched the whole episode and told the girls

it is always better to give in a little than to lose everything because you were

stubborn.

The Thumbprint Detective and the Blackout Christmas Tree

I just received a phone call from 7777 South Bay Drive. The owners said that their Christmas is now in the dark and the Christmas tree is down. There are no clues and they need help solving the mystery.

I open the front door and I can see the Christmas tree on the floor with the lights out and limbs broken. Some of the gifts seem to be unwrapped and torn. I will start interviewing the suspects and witnesses.

The Nephew: Chris

I was in the rec room watching TV when I heard the crash upstairs. The tree was on the floor, the gifts were torn and the lights were out on the tree. That’s when I called you.

The Niece: Kelsey

I was in my room on my laptop taking my writing class on
the Internet, when I heard a loud crash downstairs. Chris and I met in the kitchen after the crash and we called you.

The Bird: Squawk Box

When I first saw the tree, I thought what a great reminder of my home in the jungle. It’s been years since I have seen a tree. I could not wait! I opened the latch on my cage and flew to the near top of the tree and made a nest to relax. I was on vacation! No sooner than I got comfortable, the tree came crashing to the floor like the trees in my jungle. I miss my vacation spot!

The dog: Chewy

I could smell it down the hall! The dog treats under the tree! Chicken, cheese, fish, lamb and sweet potato flavored treats! They were in one of those boxes under the tree with all of those lights! I just had to find out which one! So I chewed the wrapping paper off some of the gifts until the tree started to fall! I ran for the doggie pillow in the hall for safety!

The Gold Fish: Fish and Bowl

We saw everything! Squawk Box flying into the tree, Chewy chewing the gifts and…….Sox the cat knocking down the tree and the lights went out!

The Cat: Sox

The tree smelled so good! It looked like it would make a great scratching post! I just could not resist it! I walked under the tree and placed my paws on the trunk and began to scratch when the lights went out and tree tipped back and I got this terrible feeling and my fur stood up and I was thrown back against the wall. I’ll never try to scratch one of those trees again!

Well, it looks like you’ll have to create another Christmas at 7777 South Bay Drive. The only surprises that you have are a dark Christmas tree, unwrapped gifts, several scared pets and a guilty dog and cat. I guess we will leave it at that! Since you have some shopping to do, I’ll send you my bill after January two! Another mystery solved by the Thumbprint Detective!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

The Frog and The Grasshopper

It was a sunny day and the grasshopper was happily jumping and leaping around in the

tall grass near the pond. He wasn’t paying very much attention when he made a leap

that landed him right in front of a large green frog! The grasshopper quickly

started to beg for his life. He asked the frog to please not eat him. The frog had

just awakened from his nap in the sun and was thinking about having a snack. The

frog asked the grasshopper why should he not eat him?

The grasshopper said he was small and puny and would not be tasty or worth his

time. The frog said let me think for a minute and I will let you know. The

grasshopper panicked and gave the frog a challenge. He asked the frog to let him go

if he leaped farther than the frog. If the frog leaped farther than the grasshopper,

the frog could eat the grasshopper for his snack. The frog agreed to the challenge.

The grasshopper and the frog agreed to leap from the edge of the pond to the tree on

the other side of the pond. The grasshopper jumped first and easily landed behind

the tree. The frog was next. He leaped into the air just over the center of the

pond, when he was suddenly swallowed by a large white crane who had been standing in

the pond watching the whole challenge! The grasshopper was amazed and went on his

merry way!

It is important to look before you leap! I’m sure the frog wished that he had!