Cell Division and Differentiation: Continuity of Life

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of three Science Objects in the Cell Division and Differentiation SciPack. It discusses the basics of cell division, the cell cycle, and how cells continue from one generation to the next.

Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life, including cell growth and development. The genetic information encoded in DNA molecules provides instructions for assembling protein molecules, which are both necessary for producing more cells and performing other cellular functions. Before a cell divides, the instructions are duplicated so that each of the two new cells gets all the necessary information for carrying on. Complex interactions among the different kinds of molecules in the cell cause distinct cycles of activities, including cell growth and division. Cell activity can also be affected by molecules from other parts of the organism, or even other organisms. Cells in multi–cellular organisms repeatedly divide to make more cells for growth and repair. Without cell division the surface area to volume ratio that constrains the size of single cells would limit an organism’s growth. Cell division in single–cell organisms makes asexual reproduction possible. Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates. Some of these changes make no difference to the organism, whereas others can change cells and organisms. In multi–cellular organisms, uncontrolled cell division, called cancer, can be caused by gene mutation. Exposure of cells to certain chemicals or radiation increases mutations and thus increases the chance of cancer.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the cellular events related to genetic material that must occur for cell division leading to growth or repair in multicellular organisms.
  • Interpret the results of experimental variables, both internal and external to the cell, affecting cellular growth and division displayed within an experiment’s graphs or data charts.
  • Compare and contrast normal, healthy cell division and cancer.
  • Explain at the cellular level how recommendations for cancer prevention (i.e. smoking cessation) might influence and affect incidents of cancer.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High

Community ActivitySaved in 4232 Libraries

Reviews (21)
  • on Tue May 05, 2015 11:29 PM

This SciPack discussed Cell Division and Differentiation. It covered many different topics under the category of cells and the division process. The details range from "Explain what fundamental unit of life ensures continuity of organisms, Describe the basic process used by organisms to grow and develop, Explain why biological growth needs to be controlled, and Recognize environmental factors that can alter normal biological growth and development." This article talks about how all Cellular organisms have a life span, live, reproduce and die. Although all the life spans are different. This Article goes on talking about different characteristics of life and the different organisms. It then goes into new topics about how to control cellular division.

Laura  (Holt, MI)
Laura (Holt, MI)

  • on Tue May 05, 2015 11:25 PM

This SciPack discussed Cell Division and Differentiation. It covered many different topics under the category of cells and the division process. The details range from "Explain what fundamental unit of life ensures continuity of organisms, Describe the basic process used by organisms to grow and develop, Explain why biological growth needs to be controlled, and Recognize environmental factors that can alter normal biological growth and development." This article talks about how all Cellular organisms have a life span, live, reproduce and die. Although all the life spans are different. This Article goes on talking about different characteristics of life and the different organisms. It then goes into new topics about how to control cellular division.

Laura  (Holt, MI)
Laura (Holt, MI)

  • on Tue May 05, 2015 11:25 PM

This SciPack discussed Cell Division and Differentiation. It covered many different topics under the category of cells and the division process. The details range from "Explain what fundamental unit of life ensures continuity of organisms, Describe the basic process used by organisms to grow and develop, Explain why biological growth needs to be controlled, and Recognize environmental factors that can alter normal biological growth and development." This article talks about how all Cellular organisms have a life span, live, reproduce and die. Although all the life spans are different. This Article goes on talking about different characteristics of life and the different organisms. It then goes into new topics about how to control cellular division.

Laura  (Holt, MI)
Laura (Holt, MI)

  • on Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:41 PM

Good introduction to this topic. It helps to assess your understanding as you go along.

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:47 PM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Cell Division and Differentiation: Continuity of Life Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:43 PM

I used this as a prep for the PA Keystone Tests with great success. It filled in a lot of gaps and increased student scores. Great job!

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Wed May 01, 2013 10:05 AM

This is a great resource. The pictures are great and the voice that reads the text is very easy to understand and listen to. I never lost interest through the entire thing.

Morgan Burks  (warrensburg, MO)
Morgan Burks (warrensburg, MO)

  • on Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:27 PM

I think this would be really useful for me! I believe i would learn a lot from this. It could help me through my teaching career later on.

Megan Murphy
Megan Murphy

  • on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:49 PM

This resource is very detailed; covering the cell cycle and the steps involved in mitosis. The interactive graphics and short videos are also very helpful to understanding. The omission of meiosis as the other type of cell division helped to focus on the basic process of cell - as that could have muddled up things considering how well it differs from mitosis!

Olukayode Banmeke  (Riverdale, MD)
Olukayode Banmeke (Riverdale, MD)

  • on Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:42 AM

In the sentence: "Once transcription proceeds, a mRNA molecule is made as a copy of the DNA. This mRNA can then travel to the cytoplasm where it is used to synthesize a protein." the sentence should read "Once transcription proceeds, an mRNA molecule is made as a copy of the DNA. This mRNA can then travel to the cytoplasm where it is used to synthesize a protein." The word mRNA is treated as the sound of the letter m rather than as a consonant.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:52 PM

Another good description of process was the stem cell section. Many of my students have heard about stem cell research and this section would be great to use in clas.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:24 PM

I really liked the description of the mutations that occur due to UV and oxygen radicals and especially where on the DNA structure they occur. I will use this in my classes.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:52 PM

This lesson provides enlightening proofs of life within the cell.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:30 PM

Great lesson on the smallest world yet reveals all the complexities that spell the foundation of life.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:52 PM

This is a good review of mitosis. Images are clear. I think that this would be good to use as a review for students if it were projected and students could answer questions as you go through the resource.

Kathryn
Kathryn

  • on Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:20 PM

When I was preparing a review of a chapter on cell division, I asked my students an exploratory question to engage their imagination (make a prediction). After reviewing this Science Object I was amazed at how detailed an answer there is to this question; I was not amazed at how well this resource covered this subject matter in such a clear and concise fashion! Two Thumbs Up, NSTA!!!!

Duane Little  (Washington, DC)
Duane Little (Washington, DC)

  • on Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:46 AM

This resource does a great job in explaining how cells in general grow by dividing over time, producing more and more cells of similar shape and size. The explanation provided of how twice as many cells are present in each subsequent generation as a result of cell division, was clear and concise. Finally, the graphic representations are great, and the hands-on interactivity and audio will appeal to individuals of various learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). Great Resource!

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:04 PM

I truly enjoyed listening to the text being read, watching and observing graphs, illustrations, supplemental experiment procedures and supplies listed, and video clips on cell division, DNA replication, bean sprout growth- showing the stem and root in action, et cetera My question is, how can NSTA members use this incredible scipack ( Cell Division and Differentiation: Continuity of Life ) and make it work in the classroom? -P G Pelayo

Pablo Pelayo
Pablo Pelayo

  • on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:26 PM

This is an awesome resource.

April Chancellor  (Dallas, TX)
April Chancellor (Dallas, TX)

  • on Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:19 PM

After completing this Sci-Pack, I can say with complete confidence that I will be infinitely more confident should I ever have to teach any content related to cells, cell structure, cell cycle, and even the causes of some types of tumors. We see over and over again students of early childhood education asking "when will I ever have to use this?" This is a shame because, even if you aren't teaching your kindergartners about cell division, they may ask you more baseline knowledge-based questions like "what makes this plant grow?" To answer these types of scientific questions, which seem simple on the surface but stem from a much deeper region of science, we must appropriately respond using our deeper understanding of the related concepts. This Sci-Pack did a fantastic job of refreshing my prior knowledge on the subject and even adding some real-life application.After completing this, I am more than ready to answer questions related to this content area.

Ethan S  (Kettering, OH)
Ethan S (Kettering, OH)

  • on Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:34 PM

This science object was very interesting and informative. My only qualm is that I sometimes felt minimally engaged. For example, the hands on activities seem swell, but there were only two. The videos and graphs made this very interesting to me. I was just considering this as thought my students were exploring the resource, and I believe it may be a bit too data and text heavy to really engage them.

Claire Oyler
Claire Oyler


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