Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Genetics: Week 3: Mitosis Model

Jello Cell Model
The DNA hangs out in the Nucleus (the marshmallow in this picture.)
Let's go further in.

Cell division is a biological process by which a cell divides into two or more cells. During this division the nucleus splits and the DNA is replicated. One of the two types of cell division is called mitosis. In mitosis the parent cell divides into daughter cells, each with a complete copy of the genetic material of the parents, and with the capacity to divide again.

page from My Name is Gene
When I saw this simple and easy mitosis model at Journey into Unschooling, I wished I had thought of it when Katie had biology. It is so simple and yet it helps to understand and remember the stages of mitosis.

It's mitosis -- with yarn, plates and pipe cleaners!
Here we have a strand of DNA inside a plate cell.

Now, let's get in closer to the DNA and exchange the yarn for pipe-cleaners. With just a snip and a twist, we can see...
This is the normal state of a cell. It's just going about its daily business of surviving and making sure it has all of the nutrients and energy it needs. It is also getting ready for another division that will happen one day. It is duplicating its nucleic acids, so when it's time for prophase again, all the pieces are there.

A cell gets the idea that it is time to divide. First, it has to get everything ready -duplicate DNA, get certain pieces in the right position, and generally prepare the cell for the process of mitotic division.

Now all of the pieces are aligning themselves for the big split. The DNA lines up along a central axis, an invisible line.

The separation begins. Half of the chromosomes are pulled to one side of the cell; half go the other way.

Now the division is finishing up. The cell into two pieces. You have two separate cells each with half of the original DNA.

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  1. Very cool demonstration, I bet your kids will remember it for a long time.

  2. so fun (and I'm hungry for a snack)!

  3. Wow! Great models.

  4. You're right. This project is similar to mine and looks awesome. I am really enjoying my science studies with the kids.


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