Clairbourn School: Cell Studies in Fifth Grade

Fifth-graders are enthusiastic about their Life Science studies this quarter because their learning materials on cell processes have been transformed into an earthling v.s. alien invasion story, “Battle for Planet Earth: Cell Processes.”

As stated by their booklet, “Students are given the scenario that Planet Earth has been invaded by alien life, of which we know very little about. They are working with the US Government and US Army, to piece together the puzzle and find a solution to the alien invasion which is destroying the planet. In this particular lesson unit, students will need to determine the cellular processes that are involved in photosynthesis, growth and respiration.”

This problem based learning project (PBL) is based on next-generation science standards, and 21st Century learning skills. As students move through storyline about Earth battling aliens, they discover the stages of Mitosis, describe the roles that ​mitochondria and ​chloroplasts play in energy conversion, and the role ​vincristine plays in the constraint of mitosis. Students are given missions, team projects and assignments, quizzes, and have to do a lot of problem-solving and independent thought exercises.

Was planet earth saved? You’ll have to ask one of our fifth-graders to find out! (See more pictures of their classroom adventures here.)

Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit




Pasadena Now has been published daily since April, 2004 and is among the very oldest continously operated community news websites in the U.S.

Pasadena Now strives to publish a full spectrum of news and information articles in service to the entire community. The publication will remain free to readers and will not erect paywalls.

Pasadena Now strives to provide factual, unbiased reporting. Our opinion section is open to all.