Aprons with Iron-on Cell Diagrams

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Diagrams and models are important to science learning because it helps students visualize things that they cannot usually observe. If they can be involved in the creation of models and diagrams, it helps to add a tactile learning aspect in addition to the visual. During the Kingdoms and Classification unit we are using from The Good and the Beautiful, the students learn about prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. I wanted something extra to go along with the unit that was more hands-on…something creative…something colorful…something useful.

We have used printable iron-on transfers in the past to make school t-shirts for our homeschool fieldtrips. There are other brands, but I typically stick with Avery printable heat transfer sheets for light fabrics. Instead of t-shirts this time though, I went with white cotton twill aprons, like these at Amazon. I used MS Word to create a diagram with reverse lettering so that it would be correct when ironed onto the apron. The link to this product in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store is below. I printed the image on the Avery sheets, then trimmed off the excess.

The reverse image cell diagram, trimmed and ready to iron onto the apron

Then, I used a dry iron on the cotton setting to press the image onto the apron. After it cooled, I peeled off the backing. Perfect.

Peeling off the back of the cooled transfer sheet

After the lesson today, the kids used regular fine tip Sharpies to color in the cell diagrams. The iron-on sheets do stay on top of the fabric and make a sort of seal to keep the markers from bleeding, however I still used trays underneath, just in case.

Coloring in the diagrams with Sharpies

The kids and I are very happy with how they turned out! I have only created one other iron-on image so far, a microscope, but intend to make a plant cell for our botany unit. In anticipation of adding more diagrams to our aprons in the future, I ordered adult sized aprons and placed the cell diagram eight inches from the top. This leaves space at the top for the kids to add their names to their aprons, and plenty of room below to add additional iron-on diagrams for future units.

Here is the link to my Teachers Pay Teachers store with the printable cell iron-on. The set in my store includes labeled and unlabeled cell diagrams, either titled “Animal Cell” or “The Cell”. There is also a key included for coloring the unlabeled diagram.

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