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Using Genetics, Students Learn Not To Judge A Book By Its Cover

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Alexandra Fuentes teaches her students about genetics and DNA at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School.
Armando Trull
Alexandra Fuentes teaches her students about genetics and DNA at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School.

Biology teacher Alexandra Fuentes is hoping her innovative course on DNA and genetics will help students to reject racial stereotyping.

"This project was designed to get students to be more critical recipients of information, to really question their beliefs and assumptions, and tie it back to what they're learning in science," Fuentes says.

Students were taught the difference between genetic traits and racial categories created by society and the physical appearance of people.

15-year-old Tayvon Eubanks says the class opened his eyes. "I found shocking that someone can be black, as in dark skin, and be from another culture and speak a different language," he says.

Students learned that in some cases two people of different races have more in common than two people of the same race.

"When you look at someone you can't automatically assume they're black, they're white, they're this they're that," says 16-year-old Serena. She adds that she has learned not to judge a book by its cover -- or, for that matter, other people.

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