This lab is a great way to make the many phases of meiosis make sense! Having kids work through each phase using the colored beads slows down their conversation and thinking and brings up great questions that help propel them forward to deeper understanding of how mitosis and meiosis compare to each other. It also connects back to our work on the differences between cell division in cancer cells vs. normal cells. I typically keep the beads out in the classroom so that students can use them as we talk throughout the unit. I use these beads from the AP Biology class lab kit from Wards, but you can use any repeating unit bead/toy that you have on hand.
1. Remind students of the work you did in your last session together comparing and contrasting the events in mitosis and meiosis. Use the meiosis slide presentation for additional support if students need a visual reminder of concepts from the last session (which can happen sometimes, especially on Mondays!).
2. Tell students that today they will be working with their lab partner using bead models to explore the process of meiosis in more detail. Pass out the modeling meiosis bead lab document.
3. Let students briefly read over the directions for this document and then highlight the procedure and goals:
3. Ask students to go to their lab tables where they will find their beads and colored pencils in order to begin their pair activity.
1. Once student pairs arrive at their lab tables, give them five minutes to settle in, look at their materials, consult their activity document, and check in as a team. At this point, all groups should be working with the beads.
2. Circulate as student groups are working. Listen in to see how students are working with their partners and within their table groups to help each other. Refer them to their textbook and the meiosis slide presentation for additional support before directly intervening whenever possible.
3. Below you will find photos of each of the phases of meiosis that students will be simulating with the beads. I am including them here for you to give you a sense of how the flow of events in meiosis translates into our bead models. Also, you can use these photos later on as a way to help students recall what they know about each phase, specifically as a prompt for vocabulary or even as a writing activity.
4. About halfway through the session, you will notice that students are working with the models with more confidence and ease. Encourage pairs you saw struggling earlier to revisit their initial responses now that they are more comfortable with both the activity and the process of meiosis.
5. As the activity winds down, ask students to return their materials to their designated spot in the room and return to their desks for our final wrap up.
1. Using the spokesperson protocol, ask students to share out their answers to the following two prompts:
What was the biggest challenge of this lab?
How did you overcome it?
2. Field student questions about their challenges.
3. Ask students for any questions about meiosis that came up during the lab session.
4. Remind students that the meiosis ppt presentation is there for them for additional support as needed.
3. Check out two student work samples below. I chose these two examples as representative of most work I received and two things stand out to me: