Mitochondria Are a Cell’s “Power Plants”

Mitochondria (singular: mitochondrium) are a type of organelles* in a cell.  They provide the cell with energy.  In other words, if we compare the cell to a city, then mitochondria are the city’s power plants.
(*Note: Organelles are small structures found inside a cell, and different types of organelles perform different types of jobs.)

20170624 mitochondria 1b
(Click to Enlarge)

Similar to a power plant using coal to generate power, mitochondria use glucose to generate energy for the cell to use, and this process is called cellular respiration, which is illustrated in a different comic. (← Click to view, it will open up a new tab)  You can search for cellular respiration using this site’s search box to learn about that process.

Fun Fact: Do you know that there is actually a tiny bit of DNA inside of mitochondria. This DNA is different from the main DNA found in the nucleus, and it does not play any role in determining an organism’s traits (At least none that we know of).

 

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-LS1-1. Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.

MS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

 

What Science Does this Comic Teach?

Unit: Cell Biology

⇒Chapter: Cell

⇒Topic: Mitochondria

Additional Information

Cellular Respiration

This is the process used by mitochondria to release energy.  For more information, visit this comic post (will open up a new tab): Cellular Respiration in Mitochondria

Organelles

Small structures found inside a cell–and different types of organelles perform different types of jobs.

Glucose

Glucose is the simplest form of sugar and contains a lot of energy–think of the phrase “sugar-rush”.  Because it is “simple”, it can be easily absorbed into an organism’s body/cells to provide the organism with energy.

Nucleus

Nucleus is the most important organelle in a cell and it stores the genetic material.  You can find more information on the nucleus here.

DNA

This word is short for “deoxyribonucleic acid”, and it is the molecule that makes up organisms’ genetic materials.  Its slight variant “RNA” (ribonucleic acid) is sometimes used as genetic materials for more primitive/simple organisms.

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