Stop-motion Mitosis: Westridge’ 7th Grade Project Combines Study of Engineering, Digital Media and Science

Westridge School’s Seventh Grade teacher Barbra Chabot is always looking for ways to bring engineering into her science curriculum. A few years ago, she figured out that the cell division process known as mitosis would be perfect for a stop-motion animation project. “I present the project to the girls as a design problem: design and build a ‘moving model’ of a cell, and then take us through the process of dividing your model into two daughter cells,” she said. “We watch examples of stop-motion animations that use a variety of materials. The groups plan out the animation on storyboards. “

The result is a collection of short stop-motion animation movies that the girls created using Movie Maker software that turns photos into movies.

The girls in the class critique each of the movies because Ms. Chabot teaches that an important step of the design process is identifying what could have been done differently next time. “My favorite part of this project is listening to the girls talk to each other about how their chromosomes need to move, since it is such a practical and hands-on way to put these scientific concepts into their long-term memories,” she said.

Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit



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