Monstrous Mutations Transform Our Freshmen
Imagine suddenly being blind and physically unable to use your hands or legs. These are just some of the mutations our freshmen experienced firsthand in their Middle Years Program (MYP) Biology class this week. When students arrived to class, they saw the classroom transformed into an ecosystem where they would have to choose which area to live in and survive. Currently, we are investigating and analyzing evolution and our overall International Baccalaureate conceptual understanding, which is “changes lead to consequences.” Students quickly discovered the truth to that statement during this hands-on, student-driven lab.
The freshman Biology team created an inquiry-based lab called “Monstrous Mutations.” Students arrived to their biology class and discovered that the room was divided in two squares of ecosystems in which only nine students would be able to live in. When they approached the middle of their ecosystem, they saw a blanket full of candy or “food. ” The ultimate goal was to get three pieces in order to survive. The catch is, students had to open their “food” in order to survive, and they only had three minutes to finish! It seems easy enough, but not if students had the mutation of being blind or unable to use their hands or legs.
Students were open-minded and caring when they were assigned a mutation. As soon as the timer started, students displayed skills that were taught and discussed in previous lessons. They ADAPTED to their mutation to survive and thrive in their new environment! This ability to adapt and survive represents our world and the reality that not all organisms will survive if they cannot adapt to their environment.
After students completed the “race” for food, the class reflected as a whole group about what they perceived to be some challenges and accomplishments with our new mutation. Amarilys Santiago, a freshman student who had a mutation that did not allow her to use her hands or arms, explained, “I could not get the candy easy! I had to make my body fall to the ground in order to scoot my way to the pile of candy and grab any piece I can find!” This is just one of the many reflections each student shared as a group to explain how their mutation affected their survival.