Cell Snap is a free online teaching resource based on the always-popular picture-matching games, but with a novel focus on cell structure. This learning game motivates students to improve their scores and their speed – while simultaneously exploring the components of the human cell! Cell Snap was developed by the Wellcome Genome Campus, which hosted the United Kingdom’s contributions to the Human Genome Project.
The game opens with a 4-by-5 display of blank cards. Click on a card to “turn it over” and reveal an image of a human cell structure – for example Golgi apparatus, nucleus, or chromosomes. Players are challenged to find the same image on another card in the display. An incorrect match loses 5 points and hides the pictures again, but a correct match earns 100 points and removes the pair of matched cards. A total of 10 correct matches completes the game.
There is no time limit, but Cell Snap clocks each game and records the “best score,” motivating students to play repeatedly and beat their previous score and/or time records. After all 10 pairs have been matched, the screen displays an illustration of the entire cell with each component labeled and in its proper location. Click on the label of each component to open an information box explaining how that structure contributes to cell function.
This attractive and user-friendly online resource is not only good memory training for students, but it appeals to their love of online games and drive to surpass their previous scores. The images are clear and colorful, and structures are described at a level that will interest even the strongest students. Teachers might even use these descriptions as the take-off point for a pop quiz or “trivia” game, to add another facet of competition and learning to this exercise.
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