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Lesson Plan


MYP Biology
Cell Division
Chromosomes and Meiosis
HS-LS1-4. Use a model to illustrate the role
of cellular division (mitosis) and
differentiation in producing and
maintaining complex organisms.


Days Needed

HS-LS3-1. Ask questions to clarify

relationships about the role of
DNA and chromosomes in coding
the instructions for characteristic
traits passed from parents to

Students Will Be Able To:

Describe the general structure of chromosomes and sister chromatids.
Model the processes of mitosis and meiosis, and explain similarities and differences
between them.

Summary of Tasks
Pass back last weeks journals
Cell Division Journal: Describe how a eukaryotic cell divides into two new cells. Feel
free to use as much terminology from last week as you remember, but make sure that
you are describing what happens; dont simply list steps.
Hand out note sheets for the day.
Chromosome Structure
Chromosomes, sister chromatids, homologous chromosomes
Centromeres, telomeres, kinetochores, spindle apparatus
Why are chromosomes structured the way they are?
Demonstrate the supercoiling of DNA using thin clay rope model
o What does bacterial DNA look like using the clay model?
o DNA video:

Why do microtubules attach where chromatids are attached?

Telomeres help protect the genes of a chromosome from degrading. What would
happen if the telomeres degraded? (Limited cell divisions)

What are the stages of mitosis?
Meiosis is effectively 2x mitosis, but with one critical difference early on
o Walk through Meiosis I, focusing on the lining of and separation of homologous
o Have students demonstrate to the class with clay how chromatids line up and

separate in mitosis
o Demonstrate using same clay models how homologous chromosomes line up
and separate in meiosis I, then proceed to meiosis II.
Crossing over clay models
o Introduces new variation; doesnt happen in mitosis!
At the end of meiosis, we have reduced the sets of chromosomes by half: reduction
Why would it be good to cut our genome in half? Does this make something new
possible that we cant do in mitosis?
o Fertilization -> increase in genetic variation. Thats the whole point of
o Well compare mitosis and meiosis tomorrow, but the big takeaway for now is
that mitosis keeps our cells and our traits consistent, and meiosis increases the
variety and mixing of traits.
o Why is increasing variety in our genetic information valuable?

Key Questions to Keep in Mind

Materials and Equipment

Meiosis Note Sheet
Meiosis PPT
Mitosis Journal Document
Clay (at least 4 colors)
Flip Book Instructions
References and Useful Links

Take Home Tasks

Curriculum Modifications:
I would like to introduce an 'FYI' component to my lessons. My students do not need to remember what
telomeres and kinetochores are, for instance, but I find it can be helpful to some students to know about
them to understand the overall structure of a chromosome. So I can keep teaching these things, but make
it very explicit what students don't need to know (and is just an 'FYI' kind of thing) so that they don't get
confused about what to study.
This demo worked well, but I would really like to give the students something to manipulate along with me.
It could be clay, but one of my reasons for only doing this as a demo was that I was worried about a mess. I
could require the students to keep the clay on a tray (if we have them available).
By giving students a hands-on model of chromosomes, I could have them try to pull the chromatids apart
in different ways and see what way works best. (i.e. doesn't break the chromatids!)

I want my students to be able to explain how cell division proceeds, and knowing the order of the stages
that we have separated out is not necessarily important. It can help when comparing the processes of
mitosis and meiosis, but I think it's also possible to understand the differences without having to name the
steps. So, I could ask students to describe the process of mitosis, and they could either list the stages or
describe how chromosomes move.

Alternate goals:
In an earlier lesson, I instructed my classes to construct a flip book that would demonstrate the process of
mitosis. A couple of students asked if they could make a CG animation or claymation, and I agreed. They
turned out great, and I would like to retain this assignment in the future but explicitly include options for
several other ways of animating mitosis (and also allow for ideas from students who would like to try
something new).