How Cells Work Together

Contributor: Hannah Brooks. Lesson ID: 12073

Can you do hard work by yourself? Isn't it easier to work together with others with the same abilities? It's the same with those tiny cells; they work together to make your body work as it should!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Analyze this image:

organization levels from cell until organism

Image by LadyofHats, via Wikimedia Commons, was released into the public domain.

  • What is the smallest component of an organ system?

That's right, a cell! Is it big enough to get the job done?

  • How many organ systems can you name in the human body?

You may have thought of the digestive, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory, skeletal, and muscular systems.

  • Did you know that there are 11 organ systems in the human body?
  • That is a lot of different kind of cells — can you remember the two types?

You've already learned how cells differentiate based on environmental factors, and that cell structure and function are related. Now you will look at how cells are organized in a living organism to provide various interdependent systems.

If you missed or need to review the previous lessons in this Cells Working Together series, find them in the right-hand sidebar under Related Lessons.

  • Do you think your body could function without a digestive system?

No, so it is very important that cells know how to work together.

  1. Download the Cellular Organization Pyramid found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.
  2. Fill this out starting with the organism, the largest section of organization.
  3. For each section, be sure to write down a detailed definition, an example, and maybe a quick sketch to help you visualize the information as you learn about each below.


This is the largest category because it includes all living organisms. As we progress through this lesson, understand that we are talking about large, complex organisms with various systems like humans, bears, and sharks. Prokaryotes and single-celled eukaryotes don't have differentiated tissues or specialized systems.

Organ systems

As you watch the following video, remember to fill out the graphic organizer! The Amoeba Sisters outline the Human Body Systems: The 11 Champions (Updated). While you don't need every piece of information, pay attention to catch the big ideas!

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We depend on our organs for specific tasks. Our heart is responsible for pumping blood to the rest of our body, and is made of cardiac muscle cells.

Study this image:

cardiac muscle

Image by OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY 4.0 license.

  • See those yellow and orange structures?

They are mitochondria, the powerhouse for the cell. It is important that the cardiac muscle has a lot of mitochondria, because they use a lot of energy while pumping the blood.

  • Did you know that your skin is also an organ?

It is made up of skin cells, pictured below:

layers of the skin

Image by Don Bliss (Illustrator) of the National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Commons, was released into the public domain.

  • Notice how close the skin cells are to one another?

This helps our skin protect us.


Watch Types of Human Body Tissue from MooMooMatha and Science:

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Wow, we are back to cells, the basic unit of life. Remember that cells have a unique structure related to their function within the larger organism.

Cells in the human body must work together to create tissues and organs. For example, blood cells and bone cells have very different responsibilities!

Without cells working together, organisms would not be able to function properly. Cells must work together to create tissues, organs, and organ systems!

Review your graphic organizer before moving on.

  • How do you think this graphic organizer applies to living organisms in our world?

Continue on to the Got It? section to take a more in-depth look at an organism of your choosing!

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