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Cells Are Us!



Cells Are Us!
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.54

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    deoxyribonucleic, cytoplasm, eukaryotic, nucleus, mitosis, genetic, trillion, organelles, microscope, meaning, division, membrane, medium, acid, multiply, liquid


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Cells Are Us!
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Did you ever stop to think what your body might be made of? Your body is made of cells. Cells are called the "building blocks" of life. Adults have about ten trillion (10,000,000,000,000) cells in their bodies! Your body was made when one tiny cell from your father joined another tiny cell from your mother. These two cells became one very special cell, and that very special cell became you!
 
2     That very special cell had all the information and "secret codes" to make you the way you are. Those "secret codes" were inside the DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic (de-ox-e-rye-bo-new-clay-ick) acid. DNA is a very long list of instructions found in the nucleus of the cell that gives each cell in your body its shape and function.
 
3     But how did you grow from one tiny cell? Cells grow, or multiply, by dividing! First there was only one cell, and then it divided by a process called cell division or mitosis. So then there were two cells. Then each of those cells divided, and then there were four cells. Then each of those cells divided, and then there were eight cells. Then those cells divided, and ... Well, you get the picture.
 
4     Think about building something with plastic blocks. The blocks have different shapes and are different sizes. They look different from each other. Each type of block has a different job, but when you put them all together, you can build a castle! Like the castle, our bodies are made of many different kinds of "blocks." The big difference is that the blocks our body is made of are very, very tiny. They are called cells. How tiny are they? VERY tiny! You could fit about a hundred of them on the period at the end of this sentence.
 
5     Cells are the smallest things that can carry out life processes. What are life processes? Living things need to take in food and water, take out wastes, and be able to reproduce themselves. In this way, cells are different from atoms and molecules. Atoms are not living things; they do not need food, water, and air; and they do not reproduce themselves. Cells are alive. Cells are bigger than atoms. We can see cells with a microscope.

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