Cell Division and Differentiation

SciPackDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Cell Division and Differentiation SciPack explores the cellular processes, including the selective expression of specific genes, which allow for the differentiation and specialization of cells. Additionally, this SciPack looks at cell division (mitosis) and the cell cycle, including the cycle for unhealthy (cancerous cells); the hierarchy between cells, tissues, organs and the organism; and the difference between specialized (differentiated) and unspecialized (undifferentiated) cells.

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Reviews (21)
  • on Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:22 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. Initially, I was unsure how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format, but the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the explanations work well together to help deepen understanding. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more confident in the areas after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend SciPacks to anyone needing to learn more about scientific topics!

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

  • on Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:47 PM

This is a great review for a veteran teacher or really good way for new teachers to learn the content better.

James  (El Paso, TX)
James (El Paso, TX)

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:04 PM

I used this resource extensively during my review just prior to the PA Keystone Tests with great results! Thank you!

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

  • on Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:13 PM

This SciPack had a lot of great visuals and short clips. It is a lot easier to understand when you can see what is happening inside the cell.

Andrea Gouldy  (Granbury, TX)
Andrea Gouldy (Granbury, TX)

  • on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:32 AM

I thought the presentation was very clear and the assessment was clear and straightforward without the unnecessary "trick" question. I had one of my highest scores in the Sciencepack exercise because of this.

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

  • on Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:25 PM

I am not a life science teacher, but even so I have found that I already knew much of the material in the life science SciPacks--except this one. Of all the life scienc SciPacks, this one has by far the least redundancy and perhaps the most complicated information to follow. As usual, animations are helpful. I think it also may have been benficial to have broken down the material into more bite sized pieces. This SciPack had by far the longest segments to read through, and sometimes it could seem a bit overwhelming to get through it all. In the end, I learned more from this SciPack than I have from any of the others, and this SciPack also left me with the most questions. It appears that this area is a very alive and active field of research, and students would be well encouraged to look into what is yet to be known about cell differentation and potential applications of stem cells.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:02 AM

The Cell Dvision and Differentiation Scipack was a very informative resource that took concepts such as transcription (role of mRNA, proteins) & translation, roles of mRNA and tRNA in protein synthesis and flow of communication within cells, stem cells (embryonic vs. stomatic), selective gene expression, osteoblasts vs. osteoclasts and cell division, and made it into a easy to understand "lesson" that was informative, and most importantly provided visual and interactive learning to help reinforce comprehension and relevance.


  • on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:39 AM

In a word, "AMAZING'. As a middle school science educator who actually teaches 'Cells and Heredity', this SciPack was incredibly informative and even expanded my knowledge life science content. The authors took a challenging topic and broke it down in such a way to actively engage all learners. I found myself having to review information and address my own misconception of topics. I was completely enthralled, and the pedagogy information helped to expand my repertoire of teaching strategies for this particular science content. I thank you for this resource...more importantly, the scholars that I teach thank you for this resource (even if they don't know it yet).

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

  • on Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:12 PM

The "Cell Division and Differentiation" SciPack was another fascinating foray into an NSTA resource. The information I gleaned from this resource gives me the confidence to open new avenues of understanding for my students; the resource also will prove invaluable to helping me assess understanding of the concepts taught! I don't think I can continue to find the superlatives to express my appreciation of the depth and clarity of NSTA's resources.

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

  • on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:20 PM

This is a very difficult topic for a simple classroom teacher without in depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology. It took me a few times going over the material to master it. It love the subtopic on stem cells and its varieties (somatic and embryonic). I probably have learned the most in this material than any other scipacks combined. It is so informative.

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

  • on Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:45 PM

My students really loved it. It was a nice change from the powerpoints.

Paulette Burdett
Paulette Burdett

  • on Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:56 PM

This SciPack is very thorough and detailed in it's explanations of cells and their functions. The instructional materials include videos, pictures, and helpful questioning. The only reason I could not give this SciPack five stars is because the final assessment's questions do not completely align with the provided information. Otherwise, this is an amazing resource.

Darby M
Darby M

  • on Thu May 07, 2015 5:10 PM

This resource is extremely valuable for studies and does a great job of putting together subtopics to paint a bigger conceptual picture. I wish I could get more direct feedback on the questions at the end though.

Ethan Delekta
Ethan Delekta

  • on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:54 AM

It has so much detailed, specific information that I wish I could provide to my middle level students. There were a lot of interactive computer animations I also felt would benefit all my future students.


  • on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:54 AM

It has so much detailed, specific information that I wish I could provide to my middle level students. There were a lot of interactive computer animations I also felt would benefit all my future students.


  • on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:54 AM

It has so much detailed, specific information that I wish I could provide to my middle level students. There were a lot of interactive computer animations I also felt would benefit all my future students.


  • on Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:51 PM

This is great for teaching to a large class.

Christina Torango
Christina Torango

  • on Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:45 PM

This SciPack wasn't as full of information as the others I've done, but the information presented was good, clear, and well illustrated. The test questions were also far more straightforward than those in other SciPacks I've seen. I'd say it's a great resource for helping students get the gist of what cells are and how they function, without getting bogged down by too much biochemistry. There were a couple places, though, where I thought the focus veered off topic a bit (ie putting more focus on analogies and not bringing the focus back as fully to explaining the cell).

Gina  (Ruidoso Downs, NM)
Gina (Ruidoso Downs, NM)

  • on Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:51 PM

I thought this SciPack gave a nice overview of the basic concepts of cell division and differentiation. It doesn't go very deep, but it covers the major topics. The sims were nice as well.

Rebecca F  (Elizabeth, WV)
Rebecca F (Elizabeth, WV)

  • on Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:11 PM

This Sci-Pack gives a good, over-all information about cell division and differentiation. I'm a bit disappointed at the lack of detail though. There wasn't much (if any) information beyond what you would get from a basic college Biology 101 class.

Nicole O'Grady
Nicole O'Grady

  • on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:09 AM

I really have enjoyed the SciPacks. Love the short clips, interactive review questions, content materials. This particular SciPack was not as well done as the others.. it is more wordy. Still a good SciPack though.

Dat Le  (Springfield, VA)
Dat Le (Springfield, VA)

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