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Autotrophic or Heterotrophic?

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 60 minutes.

Group Size:
Small Groups


Students will compare the characteristics of autotrophic and heterotrophic cells to create a Venn diagram, identify pictures and write a creative paragraph.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Biology
Standard 2 Objective 2

Describe the flow of energy and matter in cellular function.


  • Pictures (attached)
  • student page (attached)
  • biology textbooks
  • projector or copies of pictures (attached)


Instructional Procedures:

  1. Write “autotrophic” and “heterotrophic” on the board. Explain to students that the root word “trophic” refers to food or feeding. Ask students to talk to another student and decide which term refers to plant cells and which refers to animal cells. Call on selected students to answer and explain their reasoning.
  2. Ask students to open their biology textbooks to a discussion of cell types and read the information specifically addressing autotrophic cells and heterotrophic cells.
  3. As students finish, direct them to the Venn diagram on the student sheet to summarize the similarities and differences between the two cell types.
  4. For the next part of the lesson, project the images below or print a copy for each student group. The colors are important to include.
    1. Heterotropic
    2. Autotrophic
    3. Heterotrophic
    4. Heterotrophic
    5. Autotrophic
    6. Heterotropic
    7. Heterotropic
    8. Autotropic
  5. Ask students to share their paragraphs with the class to conclude.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Nov 18 2014 11:33 AM