Epsilon (AS level) Biology | Cell Membrane | Lesson plan



  • lipids, micelles and lipid bilayers
  • Membrane structure
  • Transport mechanisms

Instructional objectives

Students should be able to:

  • describe and explain the fluid mosaic model of membrane structure, including an outline of the roles of phospholipids, cholesterol, glycolipids, proteins and glycoproteins
  • outline the roles of cell surface membranes including references to carrier proteins, channel proteins, cell surface receptors and cell surface antigens
  • outline the process of cell signalling involving the release of chemicals that combine with cell surface receptors on target cells, leading to specific responses
  • describe and explain the processes of diffusion, facilitated diffusion, osmosis, active transport, endocytosis and exocytosis
  • investigate simple diffusion using plant tissue and non-living materials, such as glucose solutions, Visking tubing and agar
  • calculate surface areas and volumes of simple shapes (e.g.cubes) to illustrate the principle that surface area to volume ratios decrease with increasing size
  • investigate the effect of changing surface area to volume ratio on diffusion using agar blocks of different sizes
  • investigate the effects of immersing plant tissues in solutions of different water potential, using the results to estimate the water potential of the tissues
  • explain the movement of water between cells and solutions with different water potentials and explain the different effects on plant and animal cells

Teaching Process

  • recap on phospholipids
  • Intro to Fluid Mosaic model
  • Discussion on trans membrane transport and factors affecting the different modes.
  • Discussion and experiments on water potential


  • Measuring Matrix potential of Tissue paper
  • Measuring water potential of plant cells

Suggested reading / References

Assignments / Evaluation

  • written test
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