Bridging the Gap With Genetics: A Literary and Biological Connection

Bridging the Gap With Genetics: A Literary and Biological Connection

Krista Mann (Hawkins County Schools, USA) and Harold Kelley (Hawkins County Schools, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6364-8.ch018

Abstract

This chapter delves into practical implementation of a cross-curricular unit of biology and literature. Through collaborative readings, lab work, film study, and structured academic discourse, two advanced placement (AP) classrooms collaborated over several classes fusing science and the humanities. The initial focus of DNA in AP Biology became an exploration of where the bounds of science should extend as AP Literature students joined to raise questions of how far the bounds of science should be allowed to progress. The culmination of the unit required students help bridge the gap between science and the humanities through a Socratic seminar, a structured student-led academic discussion. This chapter reviews the rationale for implantation; the unit plan, including subject-specific and collaborative lessons; results after implementation; student reflections; and recommendations for future implementation, both for teachers and administrators.
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Rationale

Classroom teachers understand that student engagement is one of the biggest barriers to getting the students to learn the lesson. For the past several years, there has been a steady influx of dystopian society in pop culture. From popular works turned into blockbuster/radio topping hits like the book/film series, The Hunger Games; Imagine Dragons hit song, “Radioactive”; or the television series, The Walking Dead, students are familiar with multiple forms of media centered on alternate societies/societal collapse and the fact that this genre has become so ubiquitous is a testament to just how fascinated people are by the premise. After all, who does not like to ponder what it would be like to live in a world taken over by zombies...or cyborgs...or...cyborg zombies? Given this almost universal fascination with apocalyptic civilizations, we thought, the film, GATTACA (1997), and Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World (1932), were prime candidates to play to this particular human curiosity since they both depict dystopian worlds similar to those in other modern pop culture media. Conveniently, the other commonality, DNA, helped us pair our units using major unit standards for upcoming College Board examinations.

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