Activity Overview

One thing students often find difficult is using new scientific vocabulary correctly and in the appropriate context. When starting a unit, it can be helpful to introduce them to all the new terminology and have them create visual vocabulary boards that define and illustrate each word. Having a visual example along with the definition can help students understand abstract concepts.

Cell Division Vocabulary

  • Allele
  • Anaphase
  • Asexual
  • Cell Cycle
  • Centromere
  • Centrosome
  • Chromatid
  • Chromosome
  • Cleavage Furrow
  • Cytokinesis
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid
  • Diploid Cell
  • Eukaryotic
  • Gamete
  • Haploid Cell
  • Homologous Pair
  • Interphase
  • Interphase
  • Meiosis
  • Metaphase
  • Microtubules
  • Mitosis
  • Ovary
  • Ovum
  • Prophase
  • Reproduction
  • Sex cells
  • Sexual
  • Sperm
  • Spindle Fibers
  • Telomeres
  • Telophase
  • Testes
  • Variation
  • Zygote

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create visualizations of key terms and vocabulary for cell division.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose five vocabulary words and type them in the title boxes.
  3. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary and write it under the cell.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to give examples of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-HS-LS1-4] Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Science Vocabulary Assignment
Define, illustrate, or give examples of scientific key words.
33 Points
16 Points
0 Points
The vocabulary word is correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is awkward.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined.
The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell has clear examples of the key word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell has some unclear examples of the key word.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell does not have clear examples of the key word.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

How to Incorporate Visual Vocabulary Boards into the Science Curriculum


Introducing Cell Division Vocabulary

Begin the lesson with a brief lecture or presentation on cell division, emphasizing its significance in biology. Present key vocabulary terms related to cell division, such as mitosis, meiosis, chromosomes, and cytokinesis, and explain their importance for the upcoming project of creating visual vocabulary boards.


Research and Preliminary Design

Assign students to conduct individual research on each term using textbooks, online resources, and library materials for a comprehensive understanding. Encourage initial sketches and layouts for their vocabulary boards, focusing on how to visually represent each term. Provide in-class time for these preparatory activities, offering guidance and clarifications on the scientific concepts.


Creation of the Vocabulary Boards

Have students work on creating their final vocabulary boards, incorporating artistic elements for visual representation and detailed explanations for each term. Offer ongoing feedback and assistance, particularly in ensuring scientific accuracy and creativity in design. For those creating digital boards, assist with using appropriate software and integrating multimedia elements like images or short clips.


Presentations and Class Discussion

Organize a session for students to present their vocabulary boards, explaining the significance and representation of each term. Facilitate a class discussion, allowing students to ask questions and offer feedback on their peers' presentations. Conclude with a reflective session, discussing how the activity enhanced their understanding of cell division and the importance of these terms in biology.

Frequently Asked Questions about Important Vocabulary in Cell Division

What are stem cells, and how are they related to cell division?

Stem cells are unique cells within the body with the remarkable ability to develop into many different cell types, from muscle cells to brain cells. In many tissues, they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. This ability to divide and differentiate is intimately linked to cell division. When a stem cell divides, it can either remain a stem cell or transform into a more specialized cell type, such as a blood cell, a brain cell, or a heart muscle cell. This process is vital for growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues. The regulation of stem cell division is a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors, ensuring that cell division occurs in a controlled manner to maintain tissue integrity and function.

What are the consequences of errors in cell division?

Errors in cell division can have profound consequences. If the division is uncontrolled, it can lead to cancer, where cells proliferate uncontrollably. In contrast, if cell division is too limited, it can result in tissue degeneration or failure to repair damage. Errors during mitosis can lead to aneuploidy, where cells have too few or too many chromosomes, potentially causing developmental disorders. Similarly, errors in meiosis can lead to genetic disorders in offspring. For instance, nondisjunction, the failure of chromosome pairs to separate properly during meiosis, can result in conditions such as Down syndrome. Overall, the accuracy of cell division is essential for the proper functioning of organisms and the health of their offspring.

What are telomeres, and what is their role in cell division?

Telomeres are repetitive nucleotide sequences at the ends of each chromosome, serving as protective caps that prevent chromosomes from deteriorating or fusing with neighboring chromosomes. Each time a cell divides, telomeres shorten slightly, which limits the number of times a cell can divide. This shortening is associated with aging, as over time, the telomeres become too short to protect the chromosomes, leading to cell aging and death. In stem cells and cancer cells, an enzyme called telomerase keeps telomeres from shortening, thereby allowing these cells to divide indefinitely. Understanding the role of telomeres and telomerase in cell division is crucial in research areas like aging and cancer, as manipulating telomere length could potentially influence cell lifespan and the development of age-related diseases.

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