|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
No. Paper IS made from wood and wood IS made of cells. But the wood is processed in many ways which will kill cells. (Boiling, for example) When plant cells die, they leave their cell walls behind. Animal cells, like yours, do not have a cell wall. But plants do. That's why plants are stiff and snap when you bend them to far. Their walls help them stand straight, and they help the plants keep their water pressure high enough for the water to travel from the roots to the leaves. If you look at a very thin piece of wood under a microscope you might see the cell walls. If you look at a very thin piece of cork you can see holes where the cells were. That is were the first "cells" were seen, actually. Robert Hooke looked at cork with a microscope in the 16oo's. Here is a link to a site about the history of light microscopes: http://www.utm em.edu/personal/thjones/hist/c3.htm What Hooke saw was the holes left by the cells when they died. The cell walls look like holes when you cut them thin enough. Looking at LIVE cells through a microscope is very different. with a very good microscope you can see not just cells walls of a plant, but you can see a hint of all the fantastic things going on inside the live cell. You can see that the cell is not empty, it may be green in color. You might see the nucleus of the cell. If you wanted to prove that you were looking at plant cells, you should look at thin slices of your material (like the paper) and then compare what you see to other people's reports about the appearances of live cells. Live cells contain many many things. So when you look at them with the light microscope you should see that the cells are not completely transparent You should see a nucleus. It will look like a small circle inside the cell. You can ask your teacher or look in your biology books for pictures of live cells observed through light microscopes. And you can look up Robert Hooke's picture of cork. He drew the picture by hand. That is the traditional way to record your observations. Maybe you could study some materials that contain live cells and those that don't. You could draw your observations and compare them to other reports. Than you could conclude which are live cells. Here are some examples. Dead cells: Natural sponge, natural cork, dead leaf from tree Live cells: Live leaf, a small fish's tail (it's transparent so you can use the light microscope to the fish's cells) eggs are rather large cells, you could look at fish eggs, for example. Flower petals. You could try looking at pond water, or water from a dirty fish tank. You might see algae (green "dirty" stuff in the pond). Have a look. Good luck!
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Cell Biology.