Stop-Motion Mitosis Animation Project

Stop motion (also known as stop action) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. (

Objective: Study the behavior of chromosomes during mitosis and model the behavior and changes that take place during the cell cycle.

Materials: Various items to represent the cell parts such as- buttons, pipe cleaners, straws, noodles, yarn, clay/Play-Doh, paper clips, felt, etc; iPad camera, clear stands, paper, markers

Procedure: Using available materials, construct a model of a cell for each stage of the cell cycle. Take a minimum of 24 pictures of the different stages of the cycle. Make very small changes to transition from phase to phase (5-6 pictures between each phase change). Label the stages and important parts of the cell as you are taking your pictures. Use the Oh Snap! App.

Technology part: You and your partner will use the Oh Snap! App on your iPads to take the series of pictures of the Cell Cycle.  The App will allow you to make edits and you can use iMovie to create a continuous movie of the Cell Cycle.

Grading: You will receive two grades for this assignment—1 classwork/homework grade (20 points) for the Planning Sheet and 1 Assessment grade (100 points) for the Procedure & Analysis Questions and the Stop-motion Animation. **Please see rubric for specific grading of the project.

Schedule: Day 1 – Introduction, Team Planning day (plan materials, gather ideas) Day 2 & 3 – Taking pictures and final stop animation creation!

Phase Requirements: These stages and labels will be required on your pictures and will need to stay up throughout the stage:


Start with four single-stranded chromosomes. Make sure you represent the cell membrane and nucleus. Before a cell begins mitosis, each chromatid replicates, or makes an exact copy of itself. (Note: In a real cell, the DNA is not visible as chromosomes during Interphase as it is loosely arranged in the form of chromatin- but for this lab, we will start with somewhat visible chromosomes.)

Label the centromere, sister chromatids, nuclear membrane, cell membrane, and chromosomes. (Anything that appears new or needs to be stressed in your animation should be labeled.)

Answer the following questions about Interphase on your own paper by writing the question and answer :


Next model Prophase. The nuclear membrane is starting to break down and the Centrioles have moved to opposite poles. The spindle fibers are forming from the Centrioles.  Label all the parts.

Answer the following questions:


For Metaphase, line up your chromosomes up on the equatorial plane. The spindle fibers should attach to the chromosomes in the correct place. Label the chromosomes, chromatids, and spindle fibers.

Answer the following questions:


For the next stage, Anaphase, separate the double-stranded chromosomes; move them toward opposite poles.

Answer the following question:


In Telophase, the nuclear membrane reforms around the new sets of chromosomes. The chromosomes begin to unwind and become thin strands again.

Answer the following questions:


Cytokinesis begins during Telophase and continues after Telophase. Make sure you show the formation of a cleavage furrow and the split into two new cells.

After you are finished taking your pictures, you are ready to make your movie. If you are comfortable with Windows Movie Maker, you can create the video using it. If not, then you will need to download Jelly-Cam. If you want, you may include movie title and credits. We will talk about saving it when it is done.


Answer these questions on the same sheet with the questions from the procedure.

1. What is the final step of the cell cycle that follows Telophase?

2. What are the two identical “offspring” cells that come from the parent cell?

3. Why is mitosis important?

4. What does mitosis do that the cell would do wrong if it just split down the middle in cell division?

5. How many chromosomes are present in each daughter cell in this lab?

6. Why was it necessary to replicate the chromosomes during the S(synthesis) phase before mitosis began?

7. A common biological study specimen, the fruit fly, has four pairs of chromosomes in each cell. As it grows, it reproduces more cells via mitosis. How many chromosomes would you expect to find in each new cell?

8. Number the following steps in the correct order and tell which stage it occurs in:

a. A cleavage furrow or cell plate forms, separating the nuclei.

b. Chromosomes line up at the equator and chromatids are attached to spindle fibers.

c. Nuclear membrane and nucleolus reappear.

d. Genetic material replicates and is joined at the centromere.

e. Centromeres divide and single-stranded chromosomes move to poles.