Learning the process of the cell cycle in 13- and 14 year-olds


  • Jelka Strgar




mitosis, cell cycle, understanding, biology, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds


The new biology curriculum introduced the teaching of mitosis to 13- and 14-year-olds students in Slovenia. Mitosis is a challenging topic for this age. In our study, we enrolled a sample group of 95 students to check if the method of teaching mitosis first described by Danieley (1990) could be effective for students of this age. Prior to the survey, the students had not yet dealt with the division of cells; most of them did not even know that all living organisms are made of cells. The results show that this method is effective; enrolled students used logical reasoning and were thus able to understand how the events in the cell cycle and the process of mitosis follow one another. The majority of students correctly arranged 15 drawings presenting the stages of the cell cycle after the lesson, and their knowledge retention was satisfactory. Incorrect placements of drawings did not show any typical mistakes in students thinking about the cell cycle that should create specific concerns for the biology teachers.


Banet, E., Ayuso, E., 2000. Teaching Genetics at Secondary School: A Strategy for Teaching about the Location of Inheritance Information. Journal of Science Education, 84 (3) 313–351. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-237X(200005)84:3<313::AID-SCE2>3.0.CO;2-N

Castro, J., 2009. Misconceptions in Genetics: Genes and Inheritance. Accessed 6/12/2012. Available online at: http://www.csun.edu/~jcc62330/coursework/690/Assignments/castro_misconception. pdf.

Cavallo, A. M. L., 1992. Student’s Meaningful Learning Orientation and Their Meaningful Understanding of Meisosis and Genetics. (Conference Paper). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED356140).

Cavallo, A. M. L., 1996. Meaningful Learning, Reasoning Ability, and Students’ Understanding and Problem Solving of Topics in Genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(6), 625–656. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199608)33:6<625::AID-TEA3>3.0.CO;2-Q

Danieley, H., 1990. Exploring Mitosis through the Learning Cycle. The American Biology Teacher, 52(5), 295–296. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4449113

Dikmenli, M., 2010. Misconceptions of Cell Division Held by Student Teachers in Biology: a Drawing Analysis. Scientific Research and Essay, 5(2), 235–247.

Fakin, T., 2012. Znanje in odnos učencev do metuljev in komarjev [Elementary school students’ knowledge and attitudes toward butterflies and mosquitoes]. Unpublished graduation thesis, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Fisher, K. M., 1985. A Misconception in Biology: Amino Acids and Translation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 22(1), 53–62. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660220105

Lawson, A. E., 1991. Exploring Growth (and Mitosis) Through a Learning Cycle. The American biology teacher, 53(2), 107–110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4449232

Lawson, A. E., Thompson, L.D., 1988. Formal reasoning Ability and Misconceptions Concerning Genetics and Natural Selection. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 25(9), 733–746. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660250904

Lewis, J., Kattmann, U., 2004. Traits, Genes, Particles and Information: Re-visting Students Understandings of Genetic. Journal of Science Education, 26, 195–206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069032000072782

Locke, J., McDermid, H. E., 2005. Using Pool Noodles to Teach Mitosis and Meiosis. Genetics, 170(1), 5–6. Accessed 6/12/2012. Available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449698/. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.104.032060

Mbaijorgu, N. M., Ezechi, N. G., Idoko, E. C., 2007. Addressing Nonscientific Presuppositions in Genetics Using a Conceptual Change Strategy. Accessed 6/12/2012. Available online at: www.interscience.wiley.com.

Mintzes, J. J., Wandersee, J. H., Novak, J. D., 2001. Assessing Understanding in Biology. Journal of Biological Education, 35(3), 118–124. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2001.9655759

Newton, D., 2004. Teaching Tricky Science Concepts. Warwickshire, UK: Scholastic Ltd. Novak, J. D., 1988. Learning Science and the Science of Learning. Studies in Science Education, 15, 77–101. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057268808559949

Shields, M., 2006. Biology Inquiries. San Francisco, CA:Yossey-Bass. Smith, M. U., Sims, S. O. (1992). Cognitive Development, Genetics Problem Solving, and Genetics Instruction: A Critical Review. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29, 701–713. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660290707

Stavroulakis, A. M., 2005. Meio-socks and other Genetic Yarns. The American Biology Teacher, 67(4), 233–238. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4451827

Strgar, J., 2010. Biological Knowledge of Slovenian Students in the Living Systems Content Area in PISA 2006. Acta Biologica Slovenica, 53(2), 99–108. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.53.2.15509

Štraus, M., Repež, M., Štigl., S. (eds.), 2006. Nacionalno poročilo PISA 2006: naravoslovi in matematični dosežki slovenskih učencev (National report PISA 2006: achievements of Slovenian students in the field of science and mathematics). Ljubljana: National centre PISA, Pedagoški

inštitut. Venville, G., Gribble, S., Donovan, J., 2005. An Exploration of Young Children’s Understandings of Genetics Concepts from Ontological and Epistemological Perspectives. Science Education, 89, 614–633. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20061

Venville, G. J., Treagust, D. F., 1998. Exploring conceptual Change in Genetics Using a Multidimensional Interpretive Framework. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(9), 1031–1055. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199811)35:9<1031::AID-TEA5>3.0.CO;2-E

Watts, M. and Jofili, Z., 1998. Toward Critical Constructivistic Teaching. International Journal of Science Education, 20, 159–170. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069980200204

Williams, M., Montgomery, B. L., Manokore, V., 2012. From Phenotype to Genotype: Exploring Middle School Students’ Understanding of Genetic Inheritance in a Web-Based Environment. The American Biology Teacher, 74(1), 35–40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2012.74.1.8

Wyn, M., Stegink, S., 2000. Role-playing Mitosis. The American Biology Teacher, 62(5), 378–381. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4450924






Original Research Paper

How to Cite

Strgar, J. (2013). Learning the process of the cell cycle in 13- and 14 year-olds. Acta Biologica Slovenica, 56(2), 63-73. https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.56.2.16126

Similar Articles

1-10 of 98

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.