Genetics: Cell division – Mitosis


We are currently working through the specification for an IGCSE in Biology.  The following is copied straight from that specification and is all the information we need to know about mitosis:

Understand that division of a diploid cell by mitosis produces two cells which contain identical sets of chromosomes.
Understand that mitosis occurs during growth, repair, cloning and asexual reproduction.

We watched the following videos to introduce the children to mitosis.  The first is an animation by the Amoeba sisters and the other is a dance set to a song which explains mitosis.  The third is a rap which I really thought was spectacular explaining mitosis written by a biology teacher.  This last video I showed to the children two or three times a day for a week, hoping they would internalise some of the lyrics!

Mitosis is a type of cell division whereby a parent diploid cell replicates itself exactly to form two identical daughter cells.  The daughter cells contain identical sets of chromosomes.  In order to illustrate this I gave the children 4 paper plates, 3 labels saying Parent Cell, Daughter Cell and DNA replication,  and 20 jelly beans (5 sets of four different colours).  I asked the children to demonstrate their understanding of mitosis using all of the items I had given them:


It took some time but they created a great model:


As can be seen the parental diploid cell has 4 chromosomes.  During the DNA replication stage these four chromosomes multiply to become eight chromosomes (two identical sets of the original four).  The chromosomes move to allow the parent cell to split into two daughter cells, each daughter cell containing the exact DNA material the parent cell contained.

Next I handed them a sheet which had all the stages of mitosis but was unlabeled.  I asked them to label each stage (pictured is my own labeled version):

mitosis stages


I had pinned a fabulous video which I unfortunately can’t seem to post but it shows mitosis actually as it happens.  To see this fabulous video see here.  I can’t tell you what an honour it was to be watching this with the children.  The sense of awe when one realises that this process is ongoing in our bodies.  We have an amazing Creator!


I also gave them a print out of some onion cells at various stages of mitosis.  The goal was for them to be able to match the stages with some of the pictures:

onion cells mitosis


We then came to the activity the children had been looking forward to all week.  Oreo cookie mitosis.  Oh the fun!

I photocopied them this Lab  and handed them some Oreos, toothpicks, icing pens and thread sprinkles:


They completed the lab and ended up with a heap of Oreos decorated to show the stages of Mitosis:



Tomorrow we would be exploring Meiosis and comparing the two.


  1. You do find lots of you-tube videos. I just heard of Quiet-tube. Works wonders for getting rid of all those extra previews and comments. Anytime Oreos are involved, it has to be fun!

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