The Mitosis Dance

Cellular Choreography:

The stages of mitosis are much like a dance among the chromosomes. The movements of the parts of the cell must be choreographed perfectly in order for the cell to reproduce and divide properly. In this exercise, you will work in groups of 3 to 5 people to write a screenplay that outlines the stages of mitosis that you learned earlier. The following example of interphase can be used as a suggestion or a guide. The purpose of this exercise is to make cell division memorable; it is not required that this activity be constrained by absolute scientific accuracy. For example, if you want your chromosomes to speak, that is OK. You have at your disposal all of the members of your class to recruit as actors, and your group will lead them during the presentation.



Scene I: Interphase


Cell membrane: Ten to fifteen actors hold hands to form a large circle; the cell membrane. 

Nuclear membrane: Five to ten actors form a smaller circle inside the cell membrane. This will represent the nucleus.

Chromosomes: Three to five actors are stretched out and replicate during this phase. A duplicate of each actor must appear, tightly associated with the original. At this point, the chromosomes are long, thin and tangled up inside the nucleus.

As interphase fades into prophase, the centrioles form while the nuclear membrane vanishes. The chromosomes become short and thick, and their duplicates are attached to them at the middle. (All but two actors can join the cell membrane to make the cell slightly larger, allowing room for the chromosomes and centrioles to interact. The last two nuclear membrane actors can become the centrioles.) Centrioles must move to opposite poles of the cell.


Scene II: Prophase...