Get students thinking about how cells might divide. Start a discussion with them about what a cell would need in order to divide effectively. Examples of these needs might include twice as much genetic material, twice as many other cell structures, or twice the amount of cytoplasm.
Then write the words “mitosis" and “cytokinesis" on the board. Explain to students that in order for a cell to divide, it must undergo both mitosis and cytokinesis. Define mitosis as the process necessary to create enough genetic material for both cells and cytokinesis as the process of the rest of the cell dividing, specifically the cytoplasm.
Using Discovery Learning
Give out unlabeled diagrams of the phases of mitosis to groups of students, and have them try to figure out what each diagram might mean. Give them manipulatives to use as genetic materials, such as pipe cleaners and pieces of yarn, and have them try to figure out what happens during each phase of mitosis. Then go through each stage with the class, having students volunteer to discuss what they inferred about that stage and adding in your own details as necessary.
Next, have students practice putting on a demonstration about how the phases of mitosis work using their own bodies. They should be able to direct this process on their own, but you can select several “leaders" if necessary. For example, they might have several students act as pairs of chromotids and line up along the center of the cell (or classroom). A couple of students might act as centrioles. Some more creative students may even decide to add some dance steps to the demonstration.
These mitosis lesson plans are a fun alternative to the typical methods of teaching and reviewing mitosis. This basic biology concept is important for students to understand, and teaching through discovery learning and physical demonstration can help students get a better grasp on how the phases of mitosis work.
This post is part of the series: Meiosis and Mitosis in the Classroom
- Biology Lesson Plans: Teaching Meiosis
- An Activity to Review Meiosis
- Interesting Ways to Teach Mitosis: Lesson Plans and Ideas
- Traditional and Technology: Mitosis Review Activities