Last week we welcomed Eli’s mom and her colleagues to our classroom for an exploration in bioluminescence. This tied in quite well with our studies of light and genes and was a great opportunity for the students to experience the phenomena first hand.
We began with a discussion of how humans and animals communicate and which led to our focus on bioluminescence. The students shared what they knew as well as potential applications they had heard or read about, including glowing trees along highways that would reduce the need for street lights.
After viewing videos of bioluminescent jellyfish, our question was whether or not bacteria would be able to read the genes from the jellyfish and actually glow. The students mixed the solution and placed the tubes in the centrifuge. Then we waited. We found that those injected with the genes that caused a green glow worked. The red ones didn’t, but it was a great opportunity for us to consider possible reasons why.