Category Archives: Mitosis

Week 7

Monday, October 14, 2019 (HS-LS1-4): Mid-unit 1 quizzes are due at the beginning of class for full credit.  Late quizzes will receive a maximum score of 60%.

Having learned about DNA last week, it is time to focus on the process of cell division.  Mitosis, or somatic cell division, involves the division of one cell into two after all of the components of the original cell (including the DNA!) divide into two sets.  We began by watching a Crash Course video about mitosis:

After the video, students were assigned to read pages 46-51 of chapter 4 (Cellular Reproduction: Multiplication By Division) of Inside the Cell.   Students then answered the following questions in their lab notebooks:

  1. Explain the purpose of mitosis.
  2. Which cells undergo mitosis?
  3. Describe the phases of mitosis in detail (words and/or drawings).
  4. Explain what happens when cells divide uncontrollably.  List the known causes of uncontrolled cell division.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019: Class began with a brief discussion of questions 1 and 2 from yesterday’s reading assignment.  After the discussion, students had the remainder of the class period to complete the reading and questions, and then to work in teams to create a time-laps video of mitosis modeled with Play-Doh.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019: PSAT


Thursday, October 17, 2019: As we continue our study of mitosis, students will invest the next two days researching what happens when cells divide uncontrollably.  Students will use The Eukaryotic Cell Cycle and Cancer Interactive tool from HHMI BioInteractive to explore how errors in DNA copying during mitosis can lead to cancer.

Students may choose between the overview worksheet (beginner) and the in-depth worksheet (advanced).


Friday, October 18, 2019: Students have the short Friday class period to complete The Eukaryotic Cell Cycle and Cancer worksheet activity from yesterday.  Students who finish early should extend their understanding of cancer treatments by watching the Ted-Ed video below about biohacking cells to fight cancer.  After watching the video, students may earn up to +5 bonus for writing a summary of how scientists are creating CAR-T cells to upgrade the human immune system to fight cancer.

Need a break from the study of cancer?  Learn about the amazing process of regeneration in planaria!  After watching the video below, students may earn +5 bonus for writing a summary of the RNAi experiments (blocking the activity of beta-catenin and APC) in planaria.

Week 3

Week 3: September 16-20

Monday, September 16 (LS1-2): After making and recording corn seed observations, students plant seeds in soil in preparation for the next phase of our experiment.

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Next, students will discuss the analysis questions from last Friday’s assignment.  In The Breath of Life reading, students learned how the respiratory system of humans enables gas exchange, with the lungs inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.  The gas exchange occurs within the alveoli, thin-walled sacs inside the lungs.  The reading introduced the concept of feedback systems, focusing on the special nerve cells in the cardiovascular and nervous systems that can sense changes in pH.  As carbon dioxide builds up, the blood becomes more acidic, and the lungs are forced to exhale to rid the body of carbon dioxide which then brings the pH back to normal levels.

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For the last few minutes of class, we made a list of some of the ingredients found in tacos, and then categorized those food items as carbohydrates, proteins, or fats.  We will dig into this work much more deeply tomorrow.

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Tuesday, September 17 (LS1-2):  After making and recording corn plant observations, students actively took notes and shared their understanding of biomolecules.  Glucose is a simple sugar and the key ingredient in cellular respiration, the process organisms use to generate vast amounts of ATP energy.  Sugars are one type of biomolecule.  Our work today was to learn about three major classes of biomolecules: proteins, fats (lipids), and sugars (carbohydrates).  We reviewed the monomers and polymers of each, and then students read pages 328-332 in our textbook and completed the associated worksheet.  The assigned reading is titled Food: Our Body’s Source of Energy and Structural Materials.  Now that students understand the link between photosynthesis (chemical potential energy stored in glucose), cellular respiration (glucose metabolized to transfer the energy in glucose to ATP), and the larger connection with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, it is time to learn more about how the digestive system makes use of the variety of foods available to us.  It is time to think beyond glucose.

Notes from class:

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Wednesday, September 18 (LS1-2): After making and recording corn plant observations, we reviewed the reading from yesterday and focused in on an important group of enzymes responsible for digestion in the human digestive system.  For the remainder of class, students worked with a partner on the Digestive System Gizmo activity packet.


Thursday, September 19 (LS1-2): After making and recording corn plant observations for the final time, students will work with a partner to complete the Digestive System Gizmo activity packet.


Friday, September 20: Students had the entire short Friday class period to work on the Digestive System Gizmo activity packet.  Students were instructed to complete, at a minimum, through Activity B as homework before class on Monday.


Keep Learning!

Watch The Digestive System video by Mr. Anderson at Bozeman Science to learn more about this important area of study!

Introduction to Mitosis

Mitosis, or somatic cell division, involves the division of one cell into two after all of the components of the original cell (including the DNA!) divide into two sets.  We began by watching a Crash Course video about mitosis:

After the video, students were assigned to read pages 46-51 of chapter 4 (Cellular Reproduction: Multiplication By Division) of Inside the Cell.   Students then answered the following questions in their lab notebooks:

  1. Explain the purpose of mitosis.
  2. Which cells undergo mitosis?
  3. Describe the phases of mitosis in detail (words and/or drawings).
  4. Explain what happens when cells divide uncontrollably.  List the known causes of uncontrolled cell division.

This unit is focused specifically on NGSS Standard HS-LS1-4Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms. 


Updated: November 28

We continued our introductory lesson with a PowerPoint slide deck reviewing the key concepts from yesterday.  Students also received back their Unit 2 Exams with instructions on how to revise and resubmit the exam to recover partial credit (below):

Students had the remainder of the class period to work on lab reports or complete the reading assignment from yesterday.  As a reminder, the reading assignment is due on Thursday (11/30).

EOC Review: Unit 4 Review / Research and Explore

With several students in each of my classes absent because of the Algebra EOC, we used the class period to review a variety of concepts up through Unit 4.  Students reviewed the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles by reviewing posters they had made earlier in the school year.  For students who were absent, an example of one poster is provided below:

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We also reviewed genetics (vocabulary, single-trait Punnett Squares, and dihybrid crosses) along with mitosis, meiosis, and fertilization.

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Students in attendance also received a copy of the EOC-style writing prompt called Research and Explore.  We spent a few minutes discussing the prompt and looking at the rubric, and students are welcome to practice working through the prompt as homework.  The prompt will not be collected as homework.

Variation and Inheritance: Unit 4 Exam

To conclude Unit 4, students received an April Fool’s packet consisting of a set of instructions, the 2014 Biology End of Course practice exam, and the Unit 4 Exam.  Due to some confusion on behalf of our substitute on Friday, April 1, many students needed additional clarification of the packet instructions, as well as additional time to complete the quiz.  So on Monday, April 11 (after Spring Break), students had the class period to complete the quiz and other missing work.  Quarter 3 grades will be entered into Illuminate tomorrow after school (April 12), so all student work must be in my possession by the end of the school day tomorrow to count toward the quarter grade.  A list of recent assignments was written on the white board all day today as a reminder to students and a picture of the list is shown below:

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Meiosis and Inheritance: Comparing Mitosis and Meiosis

With many students out of class because of three different field trips happening today, we had to reschedule our quiz for tomorrow.  For a starter activity today, students received a worksheet instructing them to write a paragraph comparing mitosis and meiosis, using 10 different key vocabulary words in their paragraph.  Students who finished early had time to complete missing assignments.

Notes from the white board after 5th period are shown below:

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Central Dogma: Mitosis Project Presentations

Today marked the first of two days allocated to student presentations of their Mitosis Projects.  Audience members were instructed to engage both by actively listening and also by taking the following notes in their lab notebooks:

  1. For each presentation, write down the most important thing learned;
  2. One question you still have about the topic;
  3. Add the main ideas to a network diagram to illustrate connections both with mitosis and between project topics.

A picture of one of the network diagrams constructed by one class period is shown below as an example of our work today:

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Mitosis: Introduction to Mitosis – Part 2

Class began with an example of why mitosis is important: a video showing how salamanders can regenerate lost limbs:

After the video, we worked through a PowerPoint providing students with important vocabulary related to mitosis, with images related to the vocabulary to help reinforce student learning.  Students were encouraged to memorize “PMAT” – an acronym for Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase which may prove useful on the Biology EOC.  We also discussed the difference between the Washington State Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards governing mitosis.  Although Washington State has adopted the NGSS, students are still tested on the WSSS and therefore must navigate between both worlds.  The WSSS (9-11 LS1H) expects students to describe and model the process of mitosis, in which one cell divides, producing two cells, each with copies of both chromosomes from each pair in the original cell.  The NGSS mitosis standard (HS-LS1-4) requires that students use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms.  To help students achieve mastery of the content standards, students were introduced to the Mitosis Project.  The final slide of the project includes a list of 12 different projects for students (working alone or in pairs) to chose from.  Students learned a bit about each project and then had time to decide which project they would like to pursue.  We will formally launch the project tomorrow.

Mitosis: Modeling Mitosis

After assembling into project groups of 3-4 students, groups were tasked with modeling the process of mitosis using modeling clay.  Students documented their work by taking pictures (extra credit for stop-motion video) and emailing them to the teacher.  The modeling activity served to reinforce the steps of mitosis and provided students with a creative way to share their learning.

Central Dogma: Introduction to Mitosis

After wrapping up our work for now on the Chromosome Project, we transitioned to studying how cells divide.  Mitosis, or somatic cell division, involves the division of one cell into two after all of the components of the original cell (including the DNA!) divide into two sets.  We began by watching a Crash Course video about mitosis:

After the video, students were assigned to read pages 46-51 of chapter 4 (Cellular Reproduction: Multiplication By Division) of Inside the Cell.   Students then answered the following questions in their lab notebooks:

  1. Explain the purpose of mitosis.
  2. Which cells undergo mitosis?
  3. Describe the phases of mitosis in detail (words and/or drawings).
  4. Explain what happens when cells divide uncontrollably.  List the known causes of uncontrolled cell division.

This unit is focused specifically on NGSS Standard HS-LS1-4Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms. Students have previously been assessed on their understanding of how cellular expression of specific gene products (proteins) can result in unique cell types, and groups of unique cell types can form tissues.  Students learned about body structure and organization during Unit 3, including the organization of cells into tissues and organs.  In this mini-unit, students will be able to clearly connect the process of mitosis (cell division) with tissue organization and organism development.