Biology Lesson Plans: Teaching Meiosis

By Keren Perles

If you’ve ever tried teaching meiosis, and lesson plans just don’t seem to catch your students’ attention, try this unique method. This lesson uses discovery learning to spark your students’ interest in the biological process of meiosis.


Before you start thinking about teaching meiosis and lesson plans, make sure that students know the parts of a cell, especially the nucleus, chromosomes, and DNA. Also make sure that you have covered mitosis before this point so that students have a general idea of how cells replicate.

Introducing Vocabulary

Write the following terms on the board. As students come across these terms, have them define each one.

  • Diploid cell
  • Haploid cell
  • Gamete
  • Homologous chromosome
  • Zygote
  • Crossing over

Teaching Meiosis Through Discovery Learning

Give students labeled diagrams that show the steps of meiosis. Have students work in groups to label the diagrams based on their own inferences. Then have each group write a short paragraph describing what they think happens during the process of meiosis. Make sure that they include all of the following information:

  • What the purpose of meiosis is
  • How meiosis is different than mitosis
  • How the resulting cells differ from the original cell

Encourage groups to share their inferences with the class. Discuss the similarities and differences between their conclusions, and decide which inferences seem most probable. Then read through a short description of meiosis and have students check the facts in the description against their own conclusions. Have them highlight the parts of their summaries that were correct in one color, and the parts that were incorrect in another color. Then have them share the results with the class.

Modeling Chromosomes

Give pipe cleaners, construction paper, glue, and art supplies to pairs or groups students. Show them how to twist two small lengths of pipe cleaner together to make a chromatid pair. Then have them use the rest of their art supplies to make a model of how a cell undergoes meiosis. Encourage students to include each step of meiosis in their models, and allow them to display their models on a bulletin board in the classroom.

These methods of teaching meiosis and lesson plans are the perfect way to use discovery learning in your biology classroom. Keep in mind that your students will remember and understand far more when they figure out the concepts on their own.