Gilligan's Cell

It was early spring of 1998 and I was student teaching in a 7th grade Life Science class. Now, I’m not a biology person – not certified to teacher it at all – but here I was trying to teach kids about the parts of the cell to the tune of Gilligan’s Island. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Gilligan's Cell
The nucleus is the control center,
the ribosomes make proteins
The endoplasmic reticulum,
is the cell’s transport system

The lysosomes are the clean-up crew,
they break down the cell’s waste,
The mitochondria are powerhouses,
they make the cell’s energy
they make the cell’s energy

Vacuoles are storage tanks,
the cell membrane lets things in and out
These parts float in the cytoplasm,
it’s a jelly-like material
—— a jelly-like material

These were the parts of an animal cell,
plants have a few things different,
There’s a cell wall—– for their support,
They have chloroplast—– to make food,
no lysosomes,
usually one vacuole and it’s real large,
In a plant cell

Not only did I write the song but I also recorded myself singing it. Here is the oldest audio recording of me ever posted online. (I think my voice even had more hair back then.)

[audio:|titles=Gilligan's Cell]

Download the audio directly: gilliganscell.mp3


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  • Meri Cummings

    What I love about this “sung science” is that in creating it you have to make a lot of structure and function statements, then put them to music. If kids were given the assignment to put science to music on various topics, the terms and processes might gel with them a lot better. This type of task gives kids a chance to use their left and right brains together, and would be great for groups of two or three.