Meiosis, part 3

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Students will demonstrate content knowledge about meiosis while strengthening literacy skills.

Big Idea

Writing across the curriculum helps build literacy.


5 minutes

Warm-Up: Which is more beneficial, sexual reproduction or asexual reproduction? Be prepared to defend your answer.

Given the two previous lessons on meiosis, students should be able to respond to this question. Instruct students to take 1-2 minutes to think of their response and their reasons for their answer. Be careful to not rush to the discussion, recognizing that students process questions and information at different speeds. After 1-2 minutes, allow student to share their thoughts. Asking students to defend their answer helps to assess their depth of content comprehension.  

Emphasize that there are benefits to either type of reproduction, given the particular environment of the organism.

Content Review

15 minutes

In preparation for the review activity, create a list of the content specific vocabulary and place slips of paper with one term on each slip in a bag.

Explain that groups of 2 students will randomly pull 2 terms from a bag of meiosis vocabulary terms. Allowing students to work in groups of two for the review serves to help students build upon their own knowledge by working collectively with another student before working independently on the writing assignment, the constructed responses. This will also support them in their ability to use the correct terminology when they develop their constructed responses.

Display the KIM template while providing a verbal explanation of what students are expected to do. This addresses different learning styles.

Review the instructions for writing a K.I.M., recalling that K stands for “key word, I stands for information, and M stands for memory cue. 

Distribute KIM templates, large chart paper and markers to each group of two students.  Designate a set amount for this activity and set the timer. Display the timer so that students will be able to self-monitor their progress. The KIM student example shows that students are able to communicate the meaning of the terms.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Display the 7 constructed response questions. Read each question aloud to the class. Review the RACE writing strategy with students (Re-state, Answer, Cite and Explain).

Model the development of a constructed response to one of the questions using the “think aloud” strategy.

For example: List three ways that meiosis differs from mitosis.

Think aloud Script:

Let me think. Mitosis creates body cells. Oh, let me use the scientific term, somatic cells.  What do I know about somatic cells?  Somatic cells have the same number of chromosomes as the parent cells. But, is it the same for meiosis? Let me check my notes. I see meiosis produces sex cells that have half the number of chromosomes. I have identified one way that meiosis differs from mitosis.

It’s not necessary to completely answer the question. The purpose is only to allow students to observe the thinking that is used to respond to the question.

Conduct a quick check for understanding by asking 1-2 students to restate the two parts of the assignment in their own words. This practice is a great way to ensure that everyone understands what they are being asked to do.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

The writing process can be highly effective in strengthening students’ concept comprehension. But, often students will struggle with writing assignments because of literacy deficits. Identify which students will work independently to complete the task. For those students who might be challenged by the assignment, consider creating ability-based pairings.

Release students to work on the assignment. Walk around the room to observe students while they work, noting comments or struggles that may require a quick spiral review or guided questions.  Encourage students to create bullet points before they develop their written responses to each question so that they will be able to focus on the writing style after they know that they have identified all the facts they want to include in the response.

Collect the work and read over the student responses. Look for students' ability to convey their understanding of the concepts. Look for common misconceptions that may be evident across the student work and re-teach any topic that is consistently written about in error. Notice which questions are more readily answered and also those that are not selected as frequently. Questions that are consistently avoided may show areas where student knowledge is weak. Student work 1 and student work 2 both show that students were able to craft responses that show they understand the content. Student work 2 shows that the student needs to strengthen understanding as it relates to the process of crossing over.

After reviewing the work, share exemplar responses to each question so that students will gain a sense of what a complete response looks like and they also learn what the correct response is to each question.



5 minutes

Display the Meiosis Ticket Out the Door. What word pairs in the accompanying descriptions of mitosis and meiosis point to the differences between the two types of division?

  • Identical/unique,
  • diploid/haploid,
  • asexual/sexual

As a whole group, discuss this question. Look for students to be able to provide explanations that convey understanding of why one of the terms explain the difference between mitosis and meiosis.

For example, identical points to the difference between the two types of division because mitosis produces daughter cells that are identical to the parent cell and meiosis does not.