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Microvilli, Cilia, Flagella

by Greg Crowther


Context

Microvilli, cilia, and flagella are cell parts that resemble each other and might be mistaken for each other. This song presents an opportunity to consider their structural and functional similarities and differences. Note that some biologists consider these parts to be organelles (or organella), whereas others use the term organelle only for membrane-bound subcompartments of a cell.


Lyrics

Microvilli, cilia, flagella:
Cellular protrusions; types of organella.
Microvilli, cilia, flagella:
Not in every gal, but found in every fella!

Sense surrounding fluid;
Absorb from surrounding fluid;
Move surrounding fluid;
Swim through surrounding fluid!

Sense surrounding fluid;
Absorb from surrounding fluid;
Move surrounding fluid;
Swim through surrounding fluid!

Microvilli, cilia, flagella:
Cellular protrusions; types of organella.
Microvilli, cilia, flagella:
Not in every gal, but found in every fella!


Other Files

MP3 (demo)

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) What specific cytoskeletal proteins provide the structural support for these three types of cytoplasmic projections?

(2) The hair cells of your inner ear have stereocilia to sense balance-related and auditory stimuli. Are the stereocilia microvilli, cilia, or flagella?

(3) Three organelles and four functions are listed in this song. Which organelles perform which functions?

(4) Cilia can be subdivided into motile cilia and nonmotile cilia. Which subtypes go with which functions?

(5) Speculate as to the scientific meaning of the line, "Not in every gal, but found in every fella [fellow]!"

(6) The line, "Not in every gal, but found in every fella!" could be considered misleading, or even offensive. Why?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)