The cell is the basic unit of life. Cell organelles perform different specific functions, which we can compare to physical processes in our daily lives.
When a cell organelle fails to perform its function, the rest of the organelles are affected.
Suppose the mitochondria fail to break down glucose and convert it to energy; the rest of the organelles will lack the energy to perform their functions.
The cell membrane serves as a protective casing of a cell. It controls what enters the cell and what leaves. It allows useful substances like oxygen and water to enter the cell and keeps toxic substances at bay.
We can compare the cell membrane to different objects and structures in our daily lives. Here are seven cell membrane analogies.
1. The cell membrane is like a screen door
A screen door prevents the entry of unwanted material, birds, and insects into the house.
It allows for light and air to enter the house. It also prevents the people and other objects in the house from external harm.
A cell membrane functions as a screen door by preventing the entry of harmful substances into the cell and exiting useful substances from the cell.
It allows essential substances to the cell like water and oxygen through the semi-permeable membrane.
2. The cell membrane is like a gatekeeper
A gatekeeper controls access to people in the offices and information in an organization. They control traffic in the organization.
A cell membrane compares to a gatekeeper because it controls and regulates the entry of substances to the cell.
3. The cell membrane is like a town border
A town border separates a town from its surroundings. People within the town abide by the town’s authority’s laws. Visitors undergo screening before they acquire entry to the city.
A cell membrane is like a town border that separates it from the external environment. It regulates the entry of substances into the cell. The town inhabitants are like other cell organelles, kept in place by the cell membrane.
4. The cell membrane is like a school wall and doors
School walls contain students within the school compound. The students move in and out of class through the doors in the classrooms.
The doors in the school are like a cell membrane which allows for entry to school and movement within the school at specified times.
The school wall is like a cell wall, while the doors are like a cell membrane. The students, teachers, and support staff are the cell organelles performing different duties within the school.
5. A cell membrane is like a car window
The car body protects the internal parts of a car from external damage. It acts as a cell wall. The windows are like a cell membrane; they allow for the passage of air and light while inhibiting the entry of other materials like dust, dry leaves from trees, and water from rain.
6. The cell membrane is like a zoological garden
Animals in a zoo stay in cages enclosed by a wall; the cages restrict their movement, and a tourist viewing the animals gets access from the zoo attendants.
The zoo wall and the cages are like the cell membrane. The tourists are the substances that get into the plasma membrane.
7. A cell membrane is like a restaurant door
Security guards man a restaurant door and control people’s entry to the property. When customers leave, the guards ensure that they don’t go with the restaurant’s property.
The security guards and restaurant doors are like cell membrane which gives or deny access to different substances to the cell.
They also control the number of people getting in—the same way cell membranes regulate the number of substances entering the cell.
The study of different cell organelles and their role is simple when associated with different objects that we encounter in our daily life. The processes in a cell are like the day-to-day activities in our lives.