What Are the Parts of a Cell?

Barry Lenson

Sooner or later in your school years, you are going to have to pass a test that asks you to name the parts of a cell. (NOT a cellphone, the other kind of cell.) The funny thing is, at some point it might actually be useful to know how a cell functions, and what its parts are.

The most basic thing to remember is that a cell exists mostly to take in oxygen and nutrients so it can go on living. And it if goes on living, it can help the plant or animal where it lives function in a better way. When the cells in your body are healthy, for example, they are better able to resist disease. They are less likely to become cancerous. And they are also better equipped to perform their functions. (The cells in your spinal cord, your brain, your muscles and your bones are all a lot different and are adapted to perform very different functions. They need to be healthy to get their jobs done.)

Capella University, our partner college, has sponsored a terrific interactive online quiz  that can help you learn about the parts of a cell and what they do. In addition, here are some StraighterLine courses that can help you learn all about cells and their parts:

And Here’s a Fun Quiz for You . . .

We want you to have some fun today, so here’s a quick review of some cell parts that you will enjoy . . .


  • Correct answer:  The central “brain” of the cell that controls all the cell’s activities.
  • Incorrect answer: The submarine that was piloted by Captain Nemo in Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.


  • Correct answer: Structures that help in digestion, storage, and pumping stuff around the inside of the cell.
  • Incorrect answer: A central system located in your cellar that sucks all the dirt out of your house.


  • Correct answer: A smooth cellular thingy found near the nucleus of the cell.
  • Incorrect answer: Latin for “pain in the butt.”


  • Correct answer: Structures that receive materials from the endoplasmic reticulum and then distribute them to other parts of the cell.
  • Incorrect answer: The kind of body you get from eating too many donuts and sitting on a piano bench.

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