This commentary brings additional theoretical perspectives to bear on data and findings presented by Anniken Furberg and Hans Christian Arnseth in their paper on students’ meaning making in genetics in collaborative learning activities. The theoretical perspectives converge on the importance of maximizing students’ learning in genetics. The perspectives include the notion of powerful knowledge which raises the issue of whether the curriculum being delivered is a means by which students can acquire powerful knowledge that will provide them with more reliable explanations and new ways of thinking about the world. The role of the teacher in fostering social interactions that result in conceptually focused discussions within small group work also is considered. Finally, the issue of whether students can be taught how to improve the quality of their talk within small groups is explored.