Imagine you are making plans to take care of your home as you prepare to leave for a long vacation. You realize there are two things in your home that require special attention: your pets and your houseplants. These need special attention because they are alive. Have you thought closely about what distinguishes a living organism from a nonliving thing?

“Biochemistry is the study of the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances in living systems” (American Chemical Society, n.d.). In this hands-on, At-Home Lab, you discover what all cells require for life, learn about the cell’s structure and how it functions, and pay special attention to a critical cell component, the cell membrane.

Reference: American Chemical Society. (n.d.). College to careers: Biological/biochemistry. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from



  • Document: Osmosis Lab Instructions (PDF)

    This document contains instructions for the Osmosis Lab, which you must complete before the end of Week 10 of the course.

  • Document: Osmosis Lab Report (Word document)

    Complete and submit this document before the end of Week 10 of the course. However, you arestrongly encouraged to complete this Lab and document after completing Unit 4. Refer to the Osmosis Lab Report Rubric for grading details.

    Note: Be sure to save this document to your computer, as you will be completing and submitting an electronic version of this document.


  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Cell structure and function [Multimedia file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    You may find it useful to review this multimedia lab as preparation for the At-Home Lab.

    Note: The approximate length of this piece is 10 minutes. Please click on the following link for the transcript: Transcript (PDF)

Interactive Units

  • Interactive Units 1–4

At-Home Lab: Cell Structure and Function

Review the Osmosis Lab Instructions document in the Resources and gather the required materials for the lab.

Lab Materials: You must obtain or purchase a few inexpensive items for the Osmosis Lab. Also, Part 1 of the lab takes 48 hours to complete, so ensure that you have allowed ample time to complete this part of the Lab.

    • 3 eggs
    • Vinegar
    • Syrup (corn syrup, cane syrup, maple syrup, golden syrup, simple syrup, molasses, or treacle)
    • Salt or sugar
    • Water
    • Piece of string (for measuring)
    • Marker
    • Metric ruler
    • Pen or pencil
    • 3 clear jars or glasses (large enough to contain 1 cup of water and an egg)
    • Aluminum foil (or other covering for glasses/jars)

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