Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Homeschool Science: CK-12 Biology Chapter 5--The Cell Cycle, Mitosis, and Meiosis

The kids and I are using CK-12's 9th/10th grade Biology textbook as the spine for this year's biology curriculum--for Will, who is in the eighth grade but who is taking high school-level coursework, this will be recorded as Honors Biology on her transcript.

In addition to that textbook, we're using The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments as our lab manual, and of course we've got a plethora of other reading/viewing/listening resources and hands-on activities to enrich our study.

The kids read chapter 5 in sections, completing the questions at the end of each section. At the end of the chapter, they took the test (from the CK-12 Biology Quizzes and Tests book) with an open book.

For Chapter 5.1: Cell Division and the Cell Cycle, they completed the first page of this Cell Cycle Coloring Diagram, and used it as a study guide.

For Chapter 5.2: Chromosomes and Mitosis, Syd watched the BrainPop video, "Mitosis." The CK-12 Biology textbook can be a little challenging for her (it's written at the 9th/10th grade level, and she's in the sixth grade), so these BrainPop movies are particularly useful for making sure she understands the topic. She's expected to pass the quiz, and then she usually plays around on BrainPop for a while longer.

After reading Chapter 5.2 (and watching BrainPop!), the kids completed Procedure IV-3-1: Observing Mitosis, from The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments. We used prepared slides of mitosis in an ascaria egg and mitosis in an onion root for this, although you can also prepare your own own root tip slides. In this procedure, I did not ask the kids to answer the review questions or follow the instructions completely; instead, I required them to identify, if possible, and sketch a view of each of the stages of mitosis. They're both still getting used to using our new, upgraded microscope, so this was plenty challenging, and at times frustrating, for them both. Using a microscope is such an exercise in patience!

Will supplemented Chapter 5.3: Mitosis and Reproduction with a reading on Meiosis from The Biology Book (I assign this often in this study to add historical context to what we're learning), and then both kids went back to the microscope for the more challenging task of identifying the stages of meiosis in a prepared slide of lilium pollen. I referred them to this website illustrating the stages of meiosis in lilium pollen to help with the identification.

And then we did something fun! The kids could have been more scientifically accurate in their creation of these stages of meiosis cookies--

--but it turns out that meiosis is delicious, regardless!

Here are the YouTube videos that I used to supplement this chapter:

I could not find any stellar supplemental reading (other than The Biology Book) for the cell cycle, although whenever we study any aspect of cell biology, the kids and I are always reminded of A Wind in the Door, the last of the Wrinkle in Time quintet that we were able to slog through together.

Let me know if YOU find any supplemental resources that bring the cell cycle alive for children, lol!

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