The Fall semester is getting rolling again with a new class of Biotech first-years starting my molecular class and the seniors moving into their capstone work as well as my classes on Ethical Research and Bioinformatics.
This is the time when I collect errata to include as extra credit from Supreme Court Justices to the scientists who developed our basic notions of cell theory and the central dogma to my list of essential horror films.
In an effort to make these questions into a fairer opportunity to score extra points, I’m thinking of ways to balance my sources of questions. In the past, I’ve offered an array of questions across all of these genres (with an equal or greater opportunity to earn points coming from biology questions), but all questions were available to students. This year, I’m considering offering a choice of questions from which students can select from a list of say, for example, matched biology and horror questions such as the following:
Extra Credit: For each number, answer either question A or B. Circle the letter for the answer that you want to be graded (1 pt. each).
1 A. Whose postulates represent the gold standard for identifying whether a specific micro-organism causes a specific disease?
2 A. Louis Pasteur Developed the world’s third human vaccine from the dried spinal columns of infected rabbits. What disease did this vaccine protect against?
3 A. In which of the following phases is DNA replicated?
ii. M Phase
iv. S Phase
B. What horror franchise featured the ‘Tall Man’ played by Angus Scrimm?
B. Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead), is a film about a zombie virus introduced to Australia by a Sumatran Rat Monkey. This film was made by what, now-famous, director?
B. Which of the following actors played Freddy Krueger in the original Nightmare on Elm Street films?
i. Boris Karloff
ii. Robert Englund
iii. Peter Cushing
iv. Kane Hodder
A completely subjective list of essential horror films from which I often draw extra credit questions.
- The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
- Psycho (Franchise: especially, I 1960 and II, 1983)
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
- Night of the Living Dead (1969), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Day of the Dead (1985)
- The Shining (1980)
- The Exorcist (1973)
- The Wicker Man (1973)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
- Jaws (1975)
- Carrie (1976)
- The Omen (1976)
- Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), and Halloween (2007 Remake)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
- Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
- Amityville Horror (1979)
- Friday the 13th (Franchise: especially I, 1980; II, 1981; III, 1982)
- Poltergeist (1982)
- The Thing (1982)
- Creepshow (1982)
- Nightmare on Elm St. (Franchise: Especially I, 1984)
- ReAnimator (1985)
- The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
- The Fly (1986)
- Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992)
- Hellraiser (1987)
- Pumpkinhead (1988)
- Pet Sematary (1989)
- Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Scream (1996)
- American Psycho (2000)
- May (2002)
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
- The Babadook (2014)
- It Follows (2015)
- Get Out (2017)
There are definitely more films that I want to add here, but it’s already a longer list than I’d like.
Scientists every biology student should be aware of (Molecular Biology Edition):
- Gregor Mendel
- Louis Pasteur
- Walter Sutton and Theodor Boveri
- Thomas Hunt Morgan (and Alfred Sturtevant)
- Reginald Punnett
- William Bateson
- Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace
- Eduard Buchner
- George Beadle and Edward Tatum
- Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase
- Theodosius Dobzhansky
- Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl
- Erwin Chargaff
- Frederick Griffith
- Oswald Avery
- James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin
- Linus Pauling
Again, hardly an exhaustive list, but these are some who have received special mention in my Molecular class over the years.
I hope these lists and this new extra credit format work for my students and allow them to always be learning- even when it is just answering the question, “do you like scary movies?“