ALEX Learning Activity


Modeling Mitosis

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Robyn Shelton
System:Jackson County
School:Woodville High School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2346
Modeling Mitosis
Digital Tool/Resource:
Mitosis: The Amazing Cell Process that Uses Division to Multiply! Video
Web Address – URL:

In this activity, students will watch a YouTube video on mitosis and will then explore mitosis through modeling of the process with neon Expo markers and modeling clay/play-doh.

This activity is a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
4 ) Develop and use models to explain the role of the cell cycle during growth and maintenance in multicellular organisms (e.g., normal growth and/or uncontrolled growth resulting in tumors).

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L12.3: Cellular processes are regulated both internally and externally by environments in which cells exist, including local environments that lead to cell differentiation during the development of multicellular organisms. During the development of complex multicellular organisms, cell differentiation is regulated through the expression of different genes.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Illustrate the amount of time spent in each phase of the cell cycle by a cell.
  • Develop and use a model to describe patterns in typical cell growth and relate those patterns to the mechanisms of cell reproduction for growth, differentiation, and repair.
  • Develop a model of chromosome movement and use the model to explain the maintenance of chromosome number during meiosis.
  • Use chromosome models to illustrate mitosis and explain the role of mitosis in maintaining populations of cells.
  • Use a model to demonstrate errors that may occur during cell division.
  • Identify the strengths and limitations of a model in representing the cell cycle and cell differentiation.
  • Use evidence to describe the internal and external factors that influence cell cycle control mechanisms.
  • Use a model to compare multiple pathways to tumor formation.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Cell cycle
  • Chromosome
  • Somatic cell
  • Chromatin
  • Spindle fibers
  • Kinetochore microtubules
  • Centrioles
  • Centrosome
  • Centromere
  • Sister chromatids
  • Mitosis
  • Prometaphase
  • Prophase
  • Metaphase
  • Metaphase plate
  • Anaphase
  • Telophase
  • Cytokinesis
  • Cell plate
  • Cleavage furrow
  • Interphase
  • S phase
  • G1
  • G2
  • Growth
  • Maintenance
  • Checkpoints
  • Signaling factors
Students know:
  • The phases of the cell cycle (Interphase-G1, S, and G2 phases, Mitosis and cytokenisis), the amount of time spent in each cycle and what occurs during each cycle.
  • The process of cell cycle regulation.
  • Mechanisms, checkpoints and signaling factor molecules that regulate the cell cycle.
Students are able to:
  • Generate a graphic illustrating the amount of time a cell spends in each phase of the cell cycle.
  • Observe video, image or microscope slide and identify cells in each phase, relative abundance, and estimate the time spent in each phase.
  • Obtain and communicate information about the relationship between the cell cycle and the growth and maintenance of an organism.
  • Illustrate chromosome behavior during mitosis using chromosome models.
  • Distinguish between replicated and un-replicated chromosomes.
  • Demonstrate the events and cellular processes involved in each stage of mitosis.
  • Investigate the impact of errors in the process of cell division.
  • Identify the basic mechanisms, checkpoints, and general categories of signaling factor molecules (both internal and external).
  • Relate errors in control mechanisms to uncontrolled cell growth (cancer).
Students understand that:
  • The cell cycle is necessary for growth and maintenance in multi-cellular organisms.
  • Mitosis only makes somatic (body) cells.
  • Errors in control mechanisms within the cell cycle lead to uncontrolled cell growth (cancer).
AMSTI Resources:
ASIM Module:
The Cell Cycle

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.B.HS.4- Use a model to illustrate how growth occurs when cells multiply and recognize that uncontrolled growth can lead to the development of tumors (e.g., cancer).

Learning Objectives:

The student will develop a model of mitosis using neon Expo markers and modeling clay/play-doh to explore and explain the process.  

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
Before/Engage, During/Explore/Explain

The students will watch the YouTube video "Mitosis: The Amazing Cell Process that Uses Division to Multiply!" by the Amoeba Sisters. This video will introduce the process of mitosis. The students will then use neon Expo markers and modeling clay/play-doh to model each step of mitosis. Using the neon Expo markers, students will draw the cell and any necessary cell structures that are seen in each particular stage of mitosis (ex. prophase - cell membrane, centrioles, nuclear envelope beginning to dissolve, etc.). The students will also write each aspect/step of the particular phase of mitosis. The students will then use play-doh/modeling clay to model what is happening with the chromosomes in each stage of mitosis. The students will title each step of mitosis (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase) along with cytokinesis and describe the process(es) taking place during that particular stage of mitosis or cytokinesis. Each stage's drawing will include all structures of the cell in that particular stage (nuclear membrane, spindle, etc.) and have them labeled. 

Student Instruction Document

Assessment Strategies:

The teacher can use the Amoeba Sisters Mitosis Video Recap worksheet after viewing the video for a summative or formative assessment. It can be found on the following website (

The teacher can summatively assess the students at the end of the activity. The assessment requirements are included in the Student Instruction Document (located above). They are as follows: 

Students will be assessed by the teacher determining if the model meets the following criteria.

  1. Stages of mitosis are in the correct order
  2. Stages of mitosis are properly labeled
  3. Stages of mitosis processes are correctly described
  4. Cell components/structures labeled properly
  5. Chromosome modeling is correct

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need to gather all supplies needed for the activity (clay or play-doh and neon Expo markers). The teacher may want to display a slide or picture of the process for the students to reference.

Variation Tips (optional):

1.  If neon Expo markers and/or play-doh or clay are not available, butcher paper and regular markers could be used.  

2.  The teacher could use this activity for a review activity instead of an explore and explain the activity.

3.  Students could be placed in groups of 5 to have all four stages of mitosis and cytokinesis represented in each group, and each student in the group would be assigned a specific stage of mitosis or cytokinesis. The students would complete their specific stage and then the students in each group would explain the process, in the correct order, to each other. This would be the more ideal situation for teachers on a class time shorter than a block.

4.  This activity can be used to model the process of meiosis as well.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):

This activity works best on the block schedule.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: cell cycle, mitosis