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Different Kinds of Cells Make Up Our Bodies



Different Kinds of Cells Make Up Our Bodies
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.43

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    axons, defenders, bloodstream, electrical, internal, melanin, carotene, cancer, beginning, carbon, dioxide, separate, divide, form, cell, layer


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Different Kinds of Cells Make Up Our Bodies
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     When you were made, a tiny cell from your father joined with another tiny cell from your mother. Those cells began to divide, making new cells. First there was one cell, then it divided and there were two. Each of those cells divided, and then there were four. Each of those divided, and then there were eight. In the beginning, all of those cells looked alike. Then when those eight cells divided, the new cells began to look different from each other. Some cells became bone cells that made up your skeleton. Some became blood cells, some muscle cells. Some of those muscle cells specialized, and they became your heart muscle. Some cells became nerve cells. There are over two hundred different types of cells in your body. Each kind of cell is shaped differently because it has a different job to do. Each of these cells looks very, very different from each other.
 
2     On the outside of your body, you have skin cells. Skin cells protect your body by keeping out rain, dirt, and germs. Skin holds together all your separate body parts. Skin protects you from heat, cold, and sharp or hard objects. You wouldn't want to walk barefoot without skin! Skin cells stack in layers of about ten cells thick, always making new skin cells on the inside layer, and then moving outward as the cells get older and tougher. When they die, they flake off and form dust. Millions of skin cells die every day. Skin cells give people's bodies their color. Everybody's skin cells are exactly the same, except they make different amounts of two substances called melanin and carotene. These two substances give skin its color. If you go out in the sun, your skin cells make more melanin. That's what causes your skin to "tan." Too much sun is not good for skin. It can cause skin to wrinkle, and it can also cause skin cancer.
 
3     Because cells are alive, they need nutrients to survive. Blood cells carry nutrients and oxygen into your body. Blood looks red because of the red blood cells in it. Red blood cells look red because they have a chemical called hemoglobin in them. They are the cells that carry oxygen to your cells. Without oxygen, all your cells would die. When you breathe in, you take air into your lungs. The hemoglobin in blood gets oxygen from the lung cells and takes it through your bloodstream to all the cells in your body. Red blood cells also take the carbon dioxide out of the cells into the blood, where it goes into the lungs again and is breathed out of the body. Blood also contains white blood cells. The white blood cells are the defenders of your body. They fight bacteria and viruses that might make you sick. When your skin is injured and you have a scab, you might see the dead white blood cells under a scab that has been scratched off too soon. They look white or greenish color. They have been fighting the germs that came into your body when the skin was injured. Your body makes about one hundred fifty million (150,000,000) blood cells every minute of your life to replace the ones that die.

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