Maker Education

Mitosis Stop Motion

Lesson Summary

In this project, students work in groups to create a stop motion video that illustrates the phases of the cell cycle for a eukaryotic cell. Stop motion is an animation technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments to give the impression of movement. Students should already be familiar with the phases of the cell cycle. This project is intended to be an assessment of the students' understanding.

Using various materials, students will construct a model of each phase, labelling important events and cell structures that are observed. Students will reflect on the importance of these events and structures, as well as the role of cell division in living things. Students will also practice importan skills, such as communicating scientific concepts using academic vocabulary, planning and organizing ideas, revising work based on feedback, and providing constructive feedback to their peers.


Forming Groups

The students who completed this project were my advanced biology classes. I allowed them to choose their groups, 3-4 people per group, and helped facilitate group creation when needed. Depending on your class, you may want to remove student choice. Some ways I considered making groups was a counting system (count off 1-4 and have students form groups by number) that would result in new groups of students who likely didn't sit next to each other. You could also create heterogeonous groups based off of skills and abilities.

Activities Resources
Day 1 Introduction: Review project outline and rubric, form groups, and define roles. Project Outline & Rubric
Team Planning Day: Complete the Planning Sheet. Planning Sheet
Day 2-3 Setup & Stop Motion: Record stop motion animation.
Analysis: Answer questions in the Procedure & Analysis handout. Procedure & Analysis
Day 4 Video Editing: Upload pictures to computers, create, and edit animation video. Stop Motion Animator (Chrome Extension)
Kapwing (online)
Stop Motion Studio (iPhone App)
Analysis: Complete the Procedure & Analysis handout. Procedure & Analysis
Day 5 Presentations: Group presentations and feedback.
Group Evaluations: Complete Self & Peer Evaluations. Self & Peer Evaluations

Each group should present their work, and hopefully be proud of what they did! I had students stand next to the screen and introduce themselves before showing their video to the class. It is always good to review the expectations with the audience (technology away, eyes on the presenter, etc.). For accountability, have the audience complete an anonymous feedback card for each group that identifies a "glow" (something they thought the group did well) and "grow" (something they thought the group could improve on). These will be collected and given to each group for them to reflect on their work (and could be used for revisions).

Self and Group Evaluations

An important aspect of all group work is to set a time for reflections. Students should evaluate how they think they contributed and how they think their group members contributed.

Reflection and Revision

Students did not define their roles when the project was first introduced. Roles could include a director (facilitates action and makes sure group expectations are being followed) materials manager (managing setup of scenes), photographer (taking pictures), and video editor (creating and editing animation). I did not observe large issues from this, but I think establishing roles would have made the planning and execution easier for some groups (and less "down time" for some students). One person should not be completing the Planning Sheet and Procedure & Analysis questions; these are intended to structure the group's decision. I did observe some students (1-2 per group) that took command of these documents. There will likely be a leader emerge from group projects, but next time I would set more clear expectations about these aspects of the project to make sure all students are contributing their ideas and answering these questions.

I did not have students in the audience make feedback cards during the group presentations because of a lack of time. Moving forward, I think it would be valuable to add this to the lesson and incorporate it into the revision process. Students were given an opportunity to revise their work based on the teacher's (my) feedback. I required them to review their graded rubric, identify what needed to be corrected, submit the revised video, and write a short summary of the corrections that were made. Groups received a partial grade change if these were completed within the alotted time.