Trident Academy Upper School science teacher Robin Greig had her lesson on DNA all planned out – until one of the students asked a question that piqued the interest of the class.
One of her 10th graders said he had seen a TV show where scientists made a cat fluoresce green, and he wanted to know how it was done. Since the class seemed really interested, and it was still within the DNA unit she had planned, Greig diverted from her original lesson to explain how they made a cat green.
“This is what I believe makes Trident Academy so special,” Greig says. “The students were able to dictate the direction of the unit on DNA through their questions and interests, and, as a teacher, I am able to make that happen.”
Greig didn’t just stop at explaining. Instead she created an entire unit on transgenics, complete with a lab where students made bacteria fluoresce green. A transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome. As a result, the students performed a procedure that gets bacteria to take up a fluorescent jellyfish gene.
“The steps in the lab had to be performed exactly as instructed for the experiment to work, so the students had to be on top of their game, focused, and serious,” Greig explains. “And they were!”
The procedure took several days to complete and then the bacteria had to spend the weekend in an incubator where it could take up the green fluorescent protein gene. On Tuesday, when the students returned to school eager to see the results, the bacteria were glowing green.
“The students were really excited by their results, and I think this is a unit they will always remember. Plus, they learned so much about DNA just through their natural curiosity, as well as the scientific techniques we used.”
For more information, contact Robin Grieg at 843-884-7046.