Meiosis Simulation Lab (Day #1 of 3)

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Students will be able to describe how meiosis can create haploid gametes that are different from all other gametes. In other words, with the exception of identical twins, no two siblings are identical. Students will also understand why no child is identical to either or both parents.

Big Idea

Meiosis is the process that produces unique sex cells that eventually leads to the creation of genetically unique offspring.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning  that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson...

1. Describe, in detail, the steps involved in meiosis (see: “3D” process/PMATMAT).

2. Understand that meiosis uses 1 diploid (2n) cell (found in ovaries and testes) to make 4 gametes (sex cells) that are each haploid (n).

3. Describe how meiosis can create haploid gametes that are different from all other gametes (in other words, with the exception of identical twins, no two siblings are identical). Furthermore, no child is identical to either or both parents. Consider the following: independent assortment, crossing over, mutation.

I hope you get some value from my work! Please find the more intricate details of this lesson plan there.

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

5 minutes
I use a pre-assembled kit from Neo-Sci for this Meiosis Lab. The kit includes group sets of plastic "pop-beads" that represent chromosomes and the connecting centromeres, student worksheets, and text passages that present the process of meiosis.

Meiosis Simulation: Background Reading-Overview of process and stages of Meiosis I & II: PMATPMAT

I typically use a "Popcorn Reading Strategy" when I have students read aloud as a class. I keep student note cards for each of my classes. Randomly, I draw from the set to determine the next reader who will typically read a paragraph at which time the next student is selected. A simple and fair way to get kids reading!

I use the reading text materials provided in the kit but similar materials can be obtained in general online or from Neo-Sci in particular.

Instructional Input/Student Activities

45 minutes

1. Meiosis= “3D”: Unpack basic principle of this form of cell division (“Duplicate-Divide-Divide”)

I begin this section diagramming the basic overview of meiosis. In its most simplistic form, meiosis is the reduction of chromosome number (diploid --> haploid) in order to create a new, genetically unique offspring. In essence, the diploid cell doubles (46 to 92 chromosomes in human) then divides twice (leading to 46 and 23 chromosomes as a result). For students to grasp this principle is exceptionally important before diving into the details.

Teaching Challenge: How do I develop routines and procedures to support students to work independently in the science classroom?

2. Meiosis Lab video: With respect to the teaching challenge, I show this video to students as a whole class in order to give a basic overview of the lab that they (as partners) will do. Experience has shown me that the details of this process can be confusing to students. In my teaching context my students each have laptops. Each student can then access all digital content with their laptops including demonstration videos that I make or acquire from others. As students navigate this lab they can scrub through the video demonstration on their own (or as partners) as they work through the mechanics of meiosis.

3. Meiosis Simulation Lab (Part #1 of 2)

Stage 1 and 2 of today's activity usually take 20 minutes. Additionally, the description of the materials of the lab will leave me about 20 minutes; not enough to fully complete the lab. As a result, students will need to resume the lab the following day.

Note: This activity can be obtained by searching the Internet according to the phrase "neo sci meiosis simulation".

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

Whip Around: I perform a quick check for understanding of what students recall about meiosis. I choose a random sample of the class to ask the following questions with some possible responses:

Teacher: "Describe the basic model of meiosis."  Student: "It is a “3D” process (duplicate, divide, divide)."

Teacher: "What is the end product of meiosis?" Student: "It makes unique cells (gametes)."

Teacher: "Describe how the number of chromosomes changes from the beginning to the end of meiosis." Student: "It goes from diploid to haploid."

Teacher: "Describe how the number of cells changes from the beginning to the end of meiosis." Student: "It goes from 1 cell to 4 cells."

(Click here for Day #2 of this lesson series.)