Chromosomes Lesson Plan

Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

This lesson plan introduces high school students to the chromosome. Students will watch a short video, conduct a hands-on activity and analyze multiple human karyotypes with a partner to gain a general understanding of the role of chromosomes.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the term 'chromosome'
  • Recognize and name the physical features of a chromosome
  • Recognize both normal and abnormal human karyotypes


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Key Terms

  • Chromosome
  • Sister chromatids
  • Centromere
  • Karyotype
  • Gene


  • Video of a cell dividing under a microscope
  • Image of a copied chromosome without labels
  • Karyotype images
    • Normal female
    • Normal male
    • Individual with trisomy 21
    • Individual with a Robertsonian translocation of chromosomes 13 and 14
    • Individual with monosomy X
  • Scissors
  • Glue



  • Print and copy, one per pair of students, the karyotypes of a normal male, an individual with trisomy 21, an individual with t(13;14) and an individual with monosomy X.
  • Before printing the karyotype of the normal female, complete the following:
    • Using an image editor, cut the second copy of each chromosome and paste it onto another, new document.
    • Place the cut chromosomes randomly and rotate them to create a mock 'metaphase spread.'
    • Print both the metaphase spread and the incomplete karyotype that you created. Make copies of both images, enough for every student to have one of each. (In the activity, students will the cutting the chromosomes from the metaphase spread to complete the normal, female karyotype.)


  • Begin the lesson by showing a video of cell dividing under a microscope.
    • Ask students to share their thoughts on what they are observing.
    • Do they have some ideas about what they are witnessing?
    • Explain that the 'noodles' in the video are chromosomes in a cell. They will be learning more about chromosomes in today's lesson.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account