Comparing Bacterial Structures Virtual Lab

Explore the similarities and differences between bacterial and eukaryotic cell structures. Discover what structural features allow bacteria to survive in extreme environmental conditions.

  • High School
  • University / College
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About This Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Bacterial Cell Structure” simulation.

Global warming is causing the ice to melt in Antarctica, leading to the discovery of bacteria that have survived this extreme environment. In this simulation, you will learn about bacterial cell structures and how these are important for bacterial survival. Discover which structural features have allowed the Antarctica bacteria to survive in the extreme conditions.

Compare the outer cell structures

You will start your mission by comparing the outer bacterial cell structure to that of the eukaryotic cell. Explore the similarities and differences between the two cell structures by comparing features such as the cell shapes and the cell walls/membranes. Consider the purpose of the cell wall/membrane and how it helps the survival of the cells.

Assemble the inner cell structures

Assemble the cytoplasmic content of the bacterial and the eukaryotic cell. Look at the names of each organelle or cellular component and decide which cell you should place them in. Get feedback about your decisions, and try again if you placed a component incorrectly. Compare the different components in the two cells, such as the nucleus and nucleoid. Can you place all the components in the cells correctly?

Compare the bacterial cell structures

Finally, you will compare your bacterial cell structures to other bacteria and learn which cellular structures are important for the bacteria to survive in extreme environments. Study the structures of E. coli, coccus bacterium, and vibrio bacteria. Learn the function of each component. Can you help the Arctic researchers decide which features aid the survival of the bacteria?

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