Mitotic index & cancer

Calculate the mitotic of cell samples and calculate their mitotic index

This is a great online activity. Students are first guided through the identification of cells in different stages of mitosis using an online simulation. Once they are confidence students count and record the number of cells undergoing mitosis and those which aren't in a range of cell samples. They count the cells, calculate the mitotic index and use this as a prognostic tool to answer some questions.

Lesson Description

Guiding Questions

How long does it take a cell to divide?

Do cancer cells divide more quickly than 'normal' cells?

Can the mitotic index help to diagnose cancer?

Activity 1 Online activity to review the stages of mitosis and calculate the mitotic index

Follow the instructions on this website to carry out a virtual experiment to see slides of dividing cells in cancerous and normal tissues and identify the stages of mitosis in each slide.

Virtual lab - mitotic index activity

Activity 2: Calculate the mitotic index for each slide using the worksheet.

Use the virtual lab above to calculate the mitotic index of each sample. Record your data on the students worksheet below and reach a prognosis about each sample of cells.

Cancer and the cell cycle - student worksheet

Use this worksheet to record the results of the online simulation.

Teachers notes

This is a great online activity. Students are first guided through the identification of cells in different stages of mitosis and then they count the cells, calculate the mitotic index and use this as a prognostic tool as a doctor might do.

The activity should take no more than one hour and some students may wish to try the technique on prepared slides of onion or garlic root tip cells as an extension activity.

If a wet lab is also wanted there are some good resources Mitotic index experiments on this website.

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