Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The One With Mitosis

I dare say cell division - mitosis and meiosis - might be my least favorite thing to teach in 7th grade Science.  It is such a hard concept for my students to grasp.  I have tried a variety of teaching strategies over the past few years, but it is just a hard concept.  
Plain and simple.

This week when it was time for a mitosis lab, I found myself scouring the Internet yet again, hoping to find something wonderful that would help make it a little easier for my students.

It is especially challenging to teach cell division without the use of microscopes.  The majority of labs that can be found have students look at slides under a microscope.  Unfortunately I do not have the means to do this type of activity with my students.

After a little hunting I found something that quiet honestly felt a little last minute and a lot like settling for something that would get me by.

(Please tell me you have used those "get me by" lessons at least once or twice!)

This is the activity I "settled" for.

I printed this worksheet that the students filled out using their book while we discussed the four phases.  Thankfully our Science books have a great flow chart that does an excellent job summarizing the events of each phase.
After we filled out that sheet together I gave my students the sheet below along with a bright colored piece of copy paper - because you know colored copy paper makes any assignment a bit more enjoyable especially when you allow students to choose their color.

Students wrote Mitosis in the center of their colored paper (landscape) and then glued the cells around the word to create a flow chart.

I forgot to take pictures of the ones my students actually made, but here is the example (answer key) from the link above.

My students enjoyed the colored paper along with cutting and gluing.  Sometimes I forget 7th graders love this as much as 1st graders.

This last minute lesson turned out to be the best thing I've ever done with mitosis.  It shows the cell between stages.  It was such a great visual for my students.

It seemed to really clear things up for several students.

I had them cut all cells out and "play" with them like a puzzle.  They were required to get my okay before gluing anything down.  When they were ready for me to check it we would discuss any mistakes they may have made.  

Light bulb after light bulb went off in my class today.

Love it!!

Thank you to the creator of this little lesson.  It is definitely going in my file for future use.



  2. I do something very similar with my 7th graders - you might want to check out the bio.rutgers.edu website too. It is pretty fantastic!