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Chromosomes Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Chromosomes are DNA structures that contain part or all of an organism's genetic material. This lesson offers activities that will help your students understand what chromosomes are and why they matter.

Teaching About Chromosomes

If you're teaching biology to your students and focusing on the study of DNA, you are likely to spend some time focusing on chromosomes. Chromosomes are structures made up of proteins and molecules that provide the genetic material of a particular organism. As students come to understand how chromosomes work, they will learn more about cellular processes as well as biodiversity and DNA in general.

To help your students deepen their understanding of chromosomes, you may want to use some activities and games as part of your instruction. This will help you keep learning active and appeal to students with a variety of strengths and learning styles. The activities and games in this lesson are oriented toward helping your students better understand chromosomes.

Chromosome Games

This section offers some games that will make it fun for your students to learn about what chromosomes are and how they work in organisms.

Match Them Up

To play this game, you will need to create two different sets of corresponding cards. One set should contain images of chromosomes as seen by a microscope, in the form of photographs. The corresponding set should contain a few words or phrases describing each image. For instance, if you show an image of human chromosomes during metaphase, the corresponding card would say, 'These are human chromosomes during the metaphase of mitosis.' You can make the cards yourself, or have students create sets for each other.

Break students up into partnerships and give each pair a set of cards. They should mix up the cards, then work together to match the appropriate images with their captions.

Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes

This is a fun way to let students use their bodies as they think about the chromosomal characteristics of eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Count the students off by twos, creating one group that represent eukaryotes and another group to represent prokaryotes. Then, one at a time, call out facts about chromosomes. If students think the fact is relevant to their kind of organism, they should jump up.

For instance, you might say, 'has a single circular chromosome' and only the prokaryotes should jump up. If students are correct, they get to keep playing; if they are incorrect, they are out. You can also give students an opportunity to write or call out facts.

Chromosome Activities

These activities will let students think about chromosomes from a variety of perspectives.

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