Mississippi Teacher Corps

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Genetic Engineering

I'm wrapping up the genetics unit, which is a real shame because aside from ecology, it's my favorite part of the curriculum to teach. Friday's lesson was on genetic engineering (and to a certain friend of mine who was teasing me earlier today: no, I did NOT brainwash them with my liberal views, though I'll admit it was very tempting). I gave the students a reading packet that explained what genetic engineering was, had an article that was fairly pro-GE, and another article that was fairly anti-GE. The students had to make a list of pros and cons, then write a paragraph telling a friend whether they thought GE was a good or a bad idea and why. To introduce the topic, I gave a bell-ringer with the following prompt: If you could change anything about your own genes, what would you change? I really enjoyed reading the responses. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
-I wouldn't change anything because I like how I am. (I had this one from several students. I hope they really mean this and aren't just trying to sound cool, because if this is an earnest sentiment, these kids are a heck of a lot more confident than I was, or any of my peers were, in middle school).
-Multiple students said they would like to have lighter skin and/or eyes.
-I would have stronger muscles.
-I would not want to switch genes with someone who is mixed. (ouch! I hope this kid didn't mean that as a dig at me. I don't think he did, though I'm still confused as to what he was really trying to say there.)
-I would have some long, pritty (sic) hair, like Ms. Long Skirt Blue Jacket has. (I wrote "Thank you! :: smiley face:: " next to that one.)
-I would have genes to make me look like Beyonce (this from a girl who is beautiful, smart, and very popular. Middle school insecurities are still thriving, it seems.)
-I would have Michael Jordan's genes because he is smart and athletic (a man after my own heart with this one, though I'm not sure I would have picked Jordan as the prototypical scholar-athlete).

Now playing: Lil Scrappy feat. Young Buck- Money in the Bank


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