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Autotrophic or Heterotrophic?

Main Core Tie

Science - Biology
Standard 2 Objective 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


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


  • 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.

Created: 11/18/2014
Updated: 02/05/2018