Kim Driscoll's Learning Story


During sophomore year at my public high school, all students have to take 10th grade biology to graduate. My class contained some of my grade’s most notorious goof-offs and, as our teacher, Mrs. Quinn, lovingly called them, two ‘repeat offenders,’ or students who had already failed the class and needed to pass it to graduate. The sections between DNA and reproduction stand out the most in my mind. Mrs. Quinn asked us what we had done over the weekend when one boy yelled out: ‘Mrs. Quinn, I saw the skeleton of a two-headed baby!’ Quinn, shaking her head, told him that two-headed babies do not exist and that it was a set of identical twins that had not fully separated during development. The boy refused to believe her but her repeated, increasingly entertaining and informative responses to him convinced the rest of the class she was right. Attempting to return to her question about our weekend, another boy asked about a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish poster that Quinn had hanging in the room and what made it glow. Quinn explained the basic principles of glowing in the dark to the class when the second boy said: ‘So, do you think I could make a glow-in-the-dark monkey? Because I think that would be awesome.’ This led to a discussion, which encompassed almost the rest of our class, about DNA codons, recessive and dominant traits, genetic engineering and where one could find a monkey for scientific research. Needless to say, we did not engineer this monkey but I left with a full lecture’s worth of knowledge on genetics that I never would have gotten otherwise.