The students sat in their desks, eyeing the pile of candy in front of them. As soon as they were given the green light, students reached for jelly beans, chewed in anticipation, and, in most cases, spit them right back out again.
The biology classes participated in a lab where they used a dichotomous key to figure out jelly bean flavors.
“We have been learning in class how dichotomous keys are tools that help users identify certain items,” freshman Kamrin Sotelo said. “I was excited to give a dichotomous key a try by trying to figure out certain jelly bean flavors.
The students were put into groups and given a mixture of both good and nasty flavored jelly beans.
“At first I was really nervous for the lab because I knew there were many disgusting flavors such as booger, ear wax, vomit, and so many more,” freshman Paige Daniels said. “But I was so glad and lucky to have tasted a lot of fruity flavors instead.”
Differently, at times students would seem sure of what a jelly bean flavor was due to its vibrant color; however, when looking at the dichotomous key they understood the importance of more than just color.
“At one point I was so excited to eat this blue jelly bean with pink spots because I was sure it was going to be good or fruity tasting simply because I had a delicious blue jelly bean like one before,” freshman Jazlyn Early said. “However, I looked at the dichotomous key and saw that if the jelly bean had pink dots it was a rather exotic and distasteful jelly bean; I learned that it was more than just about the color.”
Overall, this lab helped struggling students get a better look at dichotomous keys in a fun and different way.
“I am not the brightest or best student at biology; I have struggled much this year,” freshman Jeff Donaldson said. “But many struggling students and I were really able to understand how helpful dichotomous keys are through this cool lab.”