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ETD 38: A. Draw+Explain the stages of mitosis. B. Why do chemotherapy patients lose their hair?
December 19, 2013 at 8:11am


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Kevin Turek
January 27, 2014 at 8:44pm

Parent: My son described to me that there are 7 stages of mitosis. 1. Interphase. this is the longest phase as it is where DNA replication occurs. Also the cell undergoes a lot of growing at this time. 2. Prophase. This is the phase where cells chromatin packages it self into chromosomes. Plus the centrosomes start to split. 3. Pro-metaphase. The nuclear envelope breaks up and the spindle starts to form. 4. Metaphase. The chromosomes align up along the metaphase plate in the middle. 5. Anaphase. This is where the cells pull apart the sister chromatids. 6. The chromosomes are separated into two developing cells and start to unwind back into chromatin and the nuclear envelop starts to reform.(forming cleavage furrow) 7. cytokinesis. they separate.

Student: This was another simple thing to explain to my mom. She studied most of this in high school and collage. This was mainly a refresher. I already explained a lot of this when explaining meiosis. I just should her todays ETD and she liked the visual. There were some vocabulary she was unfamiliar with like a centrosome and kinetochore. She also likes the acronym we use. (IPPMAT Cytokinesis CHOP! CHOP! Nice cleavage). Then my mom knows all about chemo as her dad went through it and she works with some patients that go through it. 

Madison Boggan
December 17, 2014 at 3:55pm

Parent: Madison taught me a chant about how to remember the stages of mitosis. In simplified version cell's replicate their DNA, package it, spindle fibers connect to chromosomes, they line up in the middle, they are ripped apart to the different poles of the cell and they split. Madison told me to think of this like baking cookies. They enlarged and grow and once they are ready and undergo some processes they come out of the oven and are sometimes cut apart. Also, chemotherapy patients lose their hair because hair follicles are very mitotically active just like cancer cells are so in order to kill cancer cells, the hair follicle cells are damaged too.

Student: While explaining this ETD to my mom, I thought of a new way to think of the very basic idea of mitosis. Mitosis is like cookies in the sense that they grow when they bake and get ready to be taken out through their own processes then once they are done, they are sometimes cut apart so that they are smaller and ready to be eaten.  I taught my mom about chemotherapy patients loosing their hair like painting a room-you want to only paint the walls but it's inevitable that some paint will hit the ground or other unintended places in order to get all parts of the walls covered.

Talesh Patel
January 11, 2015 at 9:13pm

Parent: My son did a great job drawing out the 7 stages of mitosis on the back of an envelope.  He went into a detailed explanation of the phases and the acronym IPPMAT to explain the Interphase, Prophase,Pro-metaphase, Metaphase, Anaphase and finally the Telophase. He did a good job explaining through a drawing how the cell replication process works and how the cell grows in each phase until the cytokinesis phase when the cell splits in two. 

He also explained from some notes he took in class that cells reproduction, aside from the initial phase happens in 20 minutes.  I found this fascinating.   He also explained that chemotherapy kills all cells and certain cells are more skeptical to being killed off like skin cells, hair cells, and cells associated with digestion.


Student: I explained to my dad that Interphase is the longest phase of mitosis. He didn't seem to grasp why it was the longest, but I explained that cells take time to replenish nutrients and grow. I also explained that prophase-cytokinesis is very quick compared to Interphase. I drew out the stages and showed him all the stages, including cytokinesis and the formation of the cleavage furrow. Explaining the chemotherapy part was a little harder. I started by telling him that the drugs used for chemotherapy kill cells, both good and bad. Since cancer cells split early and are nutrient hungry, they use the chemo drug because it's created to slip right in. Unfortunately, the drugs can slip into good cells to and kill those. This slows down the rate at which cells can reproduce and nails, hair, and skin cells all end up dying off because the drug travels through the body.

Lara Grether
January 14, 2015 at 7:52pm

Parent -- First of all, I had to have Lara explain to me what mitosis is:  the division of cells that aren't gametes -- skin, muscle, blood and hair cells. I learned that the main idea is that it goes from one cell, to two cells and then it goes through a phase where it grows and can divide again. Lara's favorite phase is the anaphase. I learned that the poison in chemotherapy is meant to go to the cells that are continually dividing. However, this can also affect hair, skin, nails and cells in the digestive system. She was also able to relate this to her thyroid issue.

Student -- I didn't realize that my mom had no basic knowledge of Mitosis, and I mistakenly jumped straight into the stages without first explaining mitosis itself. It was really nice for me to be able to revisit the beginning of our genetics unit and go back to the basics--reviewing the main purpose of mitosis. I was also really excited to share with her what I had learned about chemotherapy, which had previously been something we both were unfamiliar with in terms of how it works.

Lauren Masters
January 10, 2016 at 4:34pm

Parent: There are 7 stages of mitosis. The DNA replicates, comes together, breaks out of the envelope, lines up in the middle, stretches apart, forms a figure eight, then get chopped by cytoplasm. You now have two identical cells. This process repeats over and over.

The fastest dividing cells are cancer, hair follicle, skin, digestive track, fingernails, and growth plate. Because of this these cells are the most affected during chemotherapy. The chemo inhibits cell division in these areas. This is why some cancer patients lose their hair, have bad skin, and upset stomachs.

Student: I taught my mom the 7 stages of mitosis. Interphase-DNA replicates. Prophase-DNA condenses. Prometaphase-Nuclear envelope is gone and spindle invades and attaches. Metaphase-Chromosomes line up on the metaphase plate. Anaphase-Chromosomes are pulled to the poles of the cell. Telophase-Two cells begin to separate causing a cleavage furrow. Cytokinesis-Cytoplasm chops cells and two identical cells are formed. I also explained that the poisen in chemotherapy stops cells from dividing and that is why some cancer patients lose their hair.

Darci Kudrna
January 10, 2016 at 8:51pm

Parent-Darci tried to explain to me the steps of Mitosis.  Though she did a good job and seems to have a good handle on it, it was a lot for me to try to understand.  I got that there are 7+ phases of mitosis. The first phase has a chromotin that essentially acts like a brain and contains all of the data that the cell needs.  Then there are sister chromosones that are divided from the original chromotin.  These live in the same nucleus and look the same until they divide into 2 cells which begin to separate into two duplicates.  Darci also explained to me why chemo causes hair loss.  Since I am a cancer survivor and lost my hair during chemo, this one was easy to understand.  Chemo kills quickly dividing cells.  Hair and nails divide and grow quickly so in trying to kill off cancer cells, the hair cells are unfortunate victims.


Student: I knew my mom had no knowledge of mitosis coming into this one, it was helpful for me to go over it again because I felt like I  could have a better handle on it especially going over the really basic parts of it with her. It helped me be able to explain it better when I drew it out for my mom. It was also interesting to explain to my mom why chemo patients lose their hair because with her having been through it made it more interesting to learn about and explain to her why it happens at the molecular level

Anne Sweeney
January 11, 2016 at 10:17pm

Parent: I enjoyed learning about the intricate process of mitosis. I had Anne explain what Mitosis even is before she explained the process. The acronym was useful for remembering each step (I P P M A T Cytokinesis Chop-Chop Nice Cleavage). She also talked about chemotherapy which I am familiar with.  Since I have Lupus I know about chemotherapy.  In the past when my Lupus flared my body basically produced too many white blood cells attacking healthy organs as if they were infected so my doctor prescribed 6 months of cytoxan treatment twice.  It worked.

Student: While explaining each of the phases of mitosis, I tried to make analogies of each one. For example, during interphase it was like the brain of the group having all the information to get the process started and growing/developing or for the vocabulary like the asters (spindles) it is like a thread wrapping around a surface tangling/pulling it. I also explained to her the acronym. Explaining the chemotherapy was easier because she already knew about it.

Sara Wilton
January 18, 2016 at 10:52pm

Dad: Sara gave me the rundown on Mitosis..non-sexual cell division. Phase 1, aka 'Interphase' begins the growth and replication. Phase 2, Prophase, is the packaging stage. Phase 3 is Prometaphase where the nuclear envelope breaks down and chromatids are released. Spindles begin to attach to the chromosomes. Now we have Phase 4, Metaphase where the kinetochors (spindles) migrating to opposite ends and the cell becomes elongated while the chromosomes become aligned. Phase 6, aka Telephase, there are two nuclei formed, but the jelly isn't ready. Then, Cytokinesis and the cell separates! Cool. Cleavage makes more. And more. And so on. DNA is really fun stuff. I-P-P-M-A-T-cytokenesis-chop-chop-nice cleavage! (to the tune of Mozart's high school fight song).

Student: I was surprised how much my father enjoyed the theme song and how well it helped me remember the stages! We related each step to a phase in life and that helped me remember them clearly. He asked a lot of questions, such as the difference between kinetochores and nonkinetochores (kinetochores grab a hold of the centromeres and pull them while nonkinetochoresdo not hold onto any part of the chromosome and push against them). This definitely helped me remember what I had learned and made me look back in the book to be sure I was accurate.

Megan Codd
January 25, 2016 at 9:02am

Parent: Megan decided to teach the stages of cell division, called mitosis.  Mitosis repairs damaged cells and is involved in growth.  She drew out the 6 phases and labeled specific mechanics such as the spindle and the condensed "sista" chromatids!  The song to remember the phases was also amusing (I P P M A T Cytokenisis Chop-Chop Nice Cleavage).  Megan seems to be enjoying her studies this year in AP Biology. 

Student: I first drew out a diploid cell in interphase (stage 1), and explained how the DNA is stored in the nucleus is not yet condensed into chromosomes. DNA also replicates during this phase. Then, I drew out the prophase stage, depicting how the centrosomes start to move apart to the opposite poles to form the spindle, and the chromosomes condense into 2 identical sister chromatids. Next, stage 3 (prometaphase) involves the sister chromatids attaching to the kinetochores, and being pushed and pulled by the spindle. Then, during metaphase, the sister chromatids line up at the metaphase plate, to then be split apart in anaphase. To finish, the organelles and cytoplasm divide through telophase and cytokinesis. This was a good review for me, causing me to reflect upon the process of mitosis and engrave the stages in my brain. 

Piper Connell
January 02, 2017 at 8:13pm

Parent: I learned tonight about IPPMAT Cytokinesis Chop Chop Nice Cleavage. Basically how a cell divides, the term being mitosis. In addition how cancer cells are treated using chemotherapy and why it works ( makes them stop dividing) and how you lose your hair and nails stop growing. We talked about chromosomes and where they are located during during mitosis.

Student: To start out, I told my mom about why mitosis is important and the basic process of one cell splitting into two. Then I got into the details of the phases such as chromosomes replicating, condensing, and moving to the metaphase plate where they are separated by kinetochores and pulled to opposite centrosomes. From there, I explained the phases of Anaphase, Telophase, and Cytokinesis. I also explained the G1, G2, and S phase. She was very interested in learning about how chemotherapy causes mitosis to stop. I was able to work on using the specific vocabulary for each phase while still keeping the overall process in mind. By teaching mitosis to my mom, I was able to simplify and slow the process down which allowed me to get a better understanding.

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