If you want your students to remember the stages of mitosis, the above mnemonic device would probably be useful. But does rote memorization of the stages of mitosis really help students appreciate this fundamental process? We don’t think so, which is why we spent the past several months developing Mitosis Explored, our new interactive tutorial on the cell cycle.
Mitosis is a fascinating process, both in how exquisitely it is orchestrated, and how beautiful it looks through the microscope. By contrast, the way most students learn about mitosis is boring. Lots of awkward names to memorize and put into a seemingly random order. In the creation of Mitosis Explored, the lead author Dr. Kerry Kim decided to focus on what’s really cool about mitosis – how it works, and how it looks.
Kerry started by collecting beautiful video clips from a wide variety of species – from yeast to sea urchins to humans to plants – so he could build the tutorial around gorgeous imagery. To that he added clever interactive animations and simulations that let students tinker with the machinery behind mitosis. For instance, students are given a cell and a set of tools that trigger the different events of mitosis like the nuclear envelope dissolving, sister chromatids separating, and cytokinesis. If students perform the actions in the wrong order, the onscreen cell shows them the consequences. Several other fun puzzles, simulated experiments, and lots of instant-feedback questions all reinforce how and why mitosis works. The names and stages are learned along the way, not so much as an objective, but as a byproduct.
These past few weeks we’ve been student-testing and refining Mitosis Explored, and we’re now seeking additional instructor feedback. If you teach mitosis, please consider participating in one of our review webinars this week or next. You’ll get a quick demo, and then we’ll ask for your feedback. We’re offering $20 amazon.com gift certificates as a thank-you. You can sign up by emailing here with times you could attend. Or, if you just want to look at the tutorial on your own, you can try it right now from here.