Cell Division (Day 2)

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Students will be able to explore how cells divide and multiply for growth and repair.

Big Idea

In order to multiply, cells need to divide.

Note to Teachers

The Cell Processes unit is part 2 of my Cells 'R Us project based learning experience. Once the students are familiar with the structure of cells, we move on to how cells work. The lessons in this sequence are based on the "need to know's" created by the students (with guidance) for the Cells 'R Us project.

The complete sequence I use for the Cells 'R Us project is:

This mitosis mini-unit uses the web-based inquiry science environment (WISE) developed by UC Berkeley. Before attempting access the interactive with the students, the teacher must have created an account, and started a run of the "What makes a good cancer medicine?: Observing mitosis and cell processes"  project (Project Id # 9924). This project mitosis unit helps students understand the process of cell division in the context of learning about cancer.

You can find instructions on how to set up a teacher account and student accounts in my Note to Teachers on the Photosynthesis - a WISE Activity Day 1 lesson.

The WISE platform should be run on Mozilla Firefox with javascript enabled. WISE does not play well when run on Internet Explorer or Chrome.


5 minutes

In order to activate students thinking and connect them with the previous lesson, I randomly hand out the responses to the exit ticket from the day before. I then ask the students to read the response to themselves, and think about how they would respond. I tell them that I will randomly call on students to share their thinking. The response should be framed as "I agree with _____ because ____; I disagree with ____ because_____; I agree with _____ but would add ______." 

After about 5 minutes, I ask first for volunteers who would like to share their thoughts, before randomly cold calling using popsicle sticks to request participation from two more students. This strategy allows confident students to model the talking move before less confident students are required to participate, and provides an opportunity for students to engage in argument from evidence (NGSS Practice 6) as they discuss the answers provided by their peers.


40 minutes

Students are then asked to find their partner and log on to the WISE platform to continue the work. Students should be starting at step 2.7 "When did it happen"

As you can see in the video, in step 2.9 "Revisit your Observations" students will be engaged in analyzing and interpreting data (NGSS Practice 4) as they revise their labels now that they have "proper" names for each of the stages in cell division. While the students are analyzing the images, they are gaining practice in recognizing patterns and classifying data (XC-P-UE-2). They will then be able to observe that same pattern happening at an accelerated rate in the cancer cells and use that knowledge to attempt to control cell division when they try to "find a cure for cancer".

As students move on to step 4, WISE enages students in several of the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. In steps 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 "How does Plant ___ affect mitosis?" students continue to analyze and interpret data (NGSS Practice 4). Step 4.4 "Your Recommendation" asks students to weigh the evidence they collected in order to make a recommendation (NGSS Practice 6 and 7). Steps 4.5 "Share your Ideas" and 4.6 "What do your peers think?" invites students to practice obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (NGSS Practice 8). Before they embark on these steps, there are some points to be aware of to ensure student success:

During these steps, I am keeping close track of student work, ensuring that the exchange of ideas includes scientific vocabulary, and that students are providing evidence for every decision they are making. Because of this, I tell students that they should stop once they reach step 4.8, and to make sure their answers up to this point have been well ACE'd.


10 minutes

To close this lesson, I have students navigate to the Cells 'R Us webpage and play the Mitosis mini-game I created. Here they will practice naming the stages of cell division, as well as putting the different structures in the correct places.