Wow! The posts have been quite few and far between this story! That’s why I have set days for the longer stories! 🙂
Large white birds flapped from palm tree to palm tree, hungrily eying the tourists sitting on the restaurant’s porch eating.
Mandy softly kicked Katie (who was next to her) under the table. “What about all those microscopic kingdoms?” she asked. “I wanna’ know!”
Katie smiled. “You really want to figure this out, don’t you? The reason we have Kingdom Monera and Kingdom Protista is because creatures aren’t put in them just because they’re microscopic—hence the kelp. We look at what kind of cell they are made of. Do you know what a cell is?”
“Yes—well, kind of. I mean, I’ve heard of them,” her little sister answered, thoughtfully.
“Cells are the smallest unit of life in creation.”
“So. . . they’re alive too?”
“Yes, and they make up all living creatures.”
“I’m made up of other living creatures? That’s creepy.”
“Not really,” said Katie. “Not when you get used to it. Cells are tiny. . . creatures, that make up all other creatures. A creature’s DNA is in the nucleus of the cell.”
“Oh, you don’t know what cells are like, do you? Let me draw you a picture.” Katie dug in her purse for a pen, and drew a circle on her napkin. She drew a smaller circle inside the first, and then made some squiggly lines in the leftover space in the circle. “This is a cell. Not a very good one, I guess, but it’ll do. This (pointing to the rim of the biggest circle) is the membrane. Inside of this is the cytoplasm [sye’ tuh plaz’ uhm]. These things are the organelles, and they float in the cytoplasm. This (about the smaller circle) is the nucleus. The DNA is in here.”
“But there’s different kinds of cells?”
“Yes, this is a eukaryotic cell, which is called a cell with distinct, membrane bounded organelles. All that means is that it has a nucleus. Cells that don’t have a nucleus are called prokaryotic cells, whose main feature is simply the DNA, which is visible throughout the cell, because it has no nucleus. Kingdom Monera contains creatures made of prokaryotic cells—with no nucleus. Protista is all creatures that have only one eukaryotic cell. There are also plant cells, which are square,” she added beginning to draw again.
“That’s a rectangle, not a square,” Mandy pointed out.
“More square than other cells then,” answered Katie impatiently. “And they have a cell wall around the membrane (drawing a second perimeter around her shape). They have a nucleus (drawing a circle off to one side), and organelles (more squigglies), and one special organelle called the central vacuole [vac’ yoo uhl]. When the plant has enough water, the central vacuole expands, pressing against the cell wall. This is called turgor pressure, and it is what makes the plant stand up. This is why plants wilt when they do not have enough water. If the cell wall was not there, the cell would explode when the central vacuole expanded.”
“For real? I didn’t think science was that exciting,” observed Mandy suspiciously.
“No kidding. It’s straight from my science-book,” Katie answered confidently. “And—“ but at that moment Brian knocked over his glass of lemonade and the unsuspecting cells were snatched up to help dry the table.
Phew! This one is really scientific! Yeah. . . gotta’ love it when you’re own stories surprise you! 🙂
By the way, Becca’s Bright Lights group is meeting again tomorrow for the first time this summer (we took the school year off). If Tuesdays end up being too crazy now, I’ll switch “Mystery Quote” to another day. We’ll see.