Cell Division Stages Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Did you know that you couldn't grow if it weren't for cell division? In this lesson, we'll discuss the four stages of cell division: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.

Introducing Mitosis

You probably noticed that as you get older, you grow. But, did you ever wonder how that happens? How do your muscles get larger, your arms grow longer, and your feet get bigger? Your body grows because your body cells divide. This process of cell division is known as mitosis. When body cells divide, you end up with more cells, and you grow.

Parent and Daughter Cells

A cell that divides is called a parent cell. When the parent cell undergoes mitosis, it produces two identical daughter cells. The daughter cells are twins because they are the same and share the same genetic information.

Mitosis showing one parent cell becoming two daughter cells
Mitosis

Genetic information is stored in your cell's DNA. When your cells divide, it's important that each daughter cell ends up with the exact same DNA. Your cells replicate, or make two copies of DNA, before mitosis happens. Once the DNA is copied, your cells are ready to start the stages of cell division.

Stages of Cell Division

A good way to remember the order of the cell division stages is to remember 'PMAT.' That word stands for the four stages, which are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.

Prophase

In prophase, we see chromosomes. The DNA that replicated earlier has been organized and thickened into chromosomes. These chromosomes are inside the cell's nucleus, but that nucleus is not going to stick around. The cell nucleus breaks down and disappears during prophase.

Metaphase

In metaphase, the chromosomes move to the middle of the cell and line up. This makes it easier for them to divide evenly, which will happen on the next phase.

Anaphase

In anaphase, the chromosomes get pulled apart. The two identical pieces of each chromosome move in opposite directions. The chromosomes don't just float away from the center of the cell--they are pulled by thin fibers called spindles. A spindle is like a lasso that ropes the separated chromosome pieces and pulls them apart.

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