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Cell Castle
Teaching Plant Cell Structure and Cellular Transport
Professor Boggs

This song is available on Professor Boggs' Life Science Pack

This song is also available on Professor Boggs' Mad Science Factory

Notes from Professor Boggs:
      This whirlwind tour into, through, and out of a plant cell will probably leave heads spinning. That’s OK! I chose to focus here on terminology through analogy. Your standards will probably require a lot of these terms to be known if not totally understood. The analogies to “life inside castle walls” should help motivate a discussion as you point out the actual structures on a cell diagram.
      My student notes are oriented more to questions than answers on this song, since the goal is to encourage exploration and suggest possibilities. Approach this like clues to a mystery!


Now I’m
Just a poor tinker with some goods to sell…
I’ve got a wagon that will get me down the road.
But here’s a story of the strangest place you ever heard tell.
about the time I headed out to take a load
To Cell Castle

Now when I got to Cell Castle I saw a great wall…
But I didn’t see a doorway or a gate…
The guards laughed and said my wagon was too big to diffuse.
Said I’d have to sit outside the wall and wait…
To get in
To Cell Castle

Now I watched in amazement as the wall bulged in,
and it curved around to seal me in a ring.
The guard said “welcome to your vesicle,
This is what you use to do the endocytosis kind ofthing,
Come on in to Cell Castle”

It’s a strange kind of place – everybody’s busy
There’s amino acids everywhere, it makes you kind of dizzy
There’s organelles exotic in this place eukaryotic
You'd better watch your step… in
Cell Castle.

Now I dropped off my goods at a lysosome shop,
and went to wander round the cytosol lawn.
I saw some chloroplasts sweatin’ out sugar in the sunshine,
on the banks of the vacuole pond…
Nice day at Cell Castle

There were little ribosome shops up and down the street
called the endoplasmic reticulum.
They sent their widgets to a packin’-house run by Golgi…
He saw me and he said
“Who let that tinker scum in Cell Castle?”

And then I saw the shining walls of Nucleus Keep,
Where King Chromosome lays down the law.
His centriole guards were keeping watch out front,
and scowling at whoever they saw….
Here inCell Castle.


Now a mitochondrion made me some ATP,
and I was snackin’ on it when I heard the shout!
It seems the walls of Nucleus Keep were a tumblin’ down,
and there were TWO kings coming out
In Cell Castle

There was shoutin’ there was screamin’
there was fightin’ in the street,
As the kings headed off to the sides
Things were lookin’ ugly. I went to my man Golgi,
and begged him for a vesicle ride…
Get me out of Cell Castle!

Now exocytosis got me back on the road…
I didn’t look back till the top of the next rise …
And then I saw a brand new wall, through the middle of it all,
I couldn’t believe my eyes, there were TWO
Cell Castles!

(Chorus Variation)
It was a strange kind of trip, I doubt I’ll be returning
I’m tellin' you this tale
' cause I hope that you’ll be learning
You don’t wanna be too close,
when that cellular mito- sis starts-a
Tearin’ those chromatids apart…
in Cell Castle


Here’s a question for you to noodle on while you’re listening…*what* might this tinker-man be? Something that carries something “useful” to a cell…and there are some other clues throughout the song.

This cell apparently has a “cell wall”. What is it, a plant or an animal cell? Look for other clues to verify your answer.
This “wagon” needs the cell to construct a “vesicle” to gain entry. What other ways could something get into a cell?

Endocytosis is how cells “eat” chemicals and proteins they need from outside.

All these strange words probably make you dizzy too! Organelles are the sub-structures inside a cell…we’ll meet some later. Amino acids are the simple molecules that combine to make proteins, RNA and DNA. A “eukaryotic” cell is one with organelles.

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Many thanks to Larry Morris (Professor Boggs) for permission to display these lyrics and comments.
© Larry Morris. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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