GENETIC RESEARCH: DECISIONS TO BE MADE
(Grades 9-12 Biology or multi-disciplines)
This lesson uses multiple activities, which engage students in learning about
current genetic research and the ethical implications of this research.
Three 90 minute periods
an operational definition of perception.
the background genetics involved in the human genome.
advantages and disadvantages to this new knowledge.
the steps involved in making ethical decisions.
expert's opinions on the ethical implications of mapping the human genome.
- Prepare a simulation
that addresses the information they have gained in the previous objectives.
- Write a case
study that addresses an ethical dilemma in genetic research.
TO NATIONAL SCIENCE STANDARDS
Overhead of young
woman/old woman sketch
of butcher paper
Word processing software and printer
Part 1: Engage
1. On the overhead, show the young
woman/old woman sketch.
Ask for descriptions. (Most students see the young woman first).
3. Ask if
they see the old woman. (Hint: the young woman's chin becomes the old woman's
nose, young woman's ear is old woman's eye.)
4. Discuss why different people
see different things.
5. Develop an operational definition for perception.
6. Discuss what forces can alter a person's perception.
1. Go to http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june00/genome.html
2. Have students read the article entitled "The Inside is Out" to provide
them with scientific background information on the human genome.
3. Give each
group of 4 students a pack of 3" by 3" Post-It notes, a large sheet
of butcher paper and a black marker.
4. Give this list
of words to the students and have them write each word on a separate Post-It
note so that there is one set per group.
On the butcher paper sheets, students should now construct a concept map using
these words. For additional information on the use and construction of concept
maps, see http://classes.aces.uiuc.edu/ACES100/Mind/CMap.html
Use "Genome" as the top or header word. They should connect these words
with branches and linking words on these branches, which describes the relationship
between the words.
Have a couple of groups explain their maps to the rest of the class. The interesting
thing about doing concept maps is that they can all be different and still be
In the same groups of 4, have students develop an advantages/disadvantages chart
using the information they garnered from the remainder of the article.
In this next activity students will be working in groups of 4-6 in what are called
"Reading Circles". These are temporary; task oriented groups of students
who have been assigned to read a specific article. It is an analytical approach
to reading that uses cooperative grouping. Each person in the group reads the
same article but is individually responsible for analyzing the reading from a
particular perspective for more thorough understanding. Individual analyses are
completed as homework and this forms that basis of a shared discussion within
the reading circle.
is a list of possible roles that can be used:
Discussion Director: prepares 3 to 4 general, but probing, questions for discussion.
The discussion should be a wide angle one. This person also convenes the group,
solicits contributions from each member and wraps up the discussion.
Passage Picker: Selects and notes specific passages to read aloud to the group
with a brief analysis about why these passages are worthy of discussion.
Creative Connector: Examines the text for its relevance to personal experiences,
current events or other books or readings from class.
¨ Icon Crafter:
Provides a graphic insight into the reading. These may be cartoons, diagrams,
flow charts or graphs.
¨ Essence Extractor: Prepares a 1 to 2 minutes
summary of the article. Identifies key points and main highlights. Often serves
as the reporter when groups report out to the entire class.
Analyzer: Examines the article for the quality of the evidence that the author
uses to support the conclusions. Looks for evidence that is missing and for logical
¨ Word Wizard: Identifies (by page and context) and defines
words and names, whose definitions may be ambiguous, or whose meanings are technical.
¨ Bias Barometer: Reads for explicit and implicit assumptions that influence
the authors work.
Select the roles you would like to use and have students either watch, read or
listen to the NewsHour discussion called "Genetic Ethics" found at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july-dec00/ethics_7-3.html
or read the
Extra story at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june02/cloning.html
10. Give appropriate time for group and subsequent whole class discussion.
11. Select one ethical dilemma from the article to examine closer using a decision-making
12. Individually have students analyze this dilemma using these 6 steps:
State the problem in the form of a question.
b. Assemble facts and identify
c. List all possible alternatives.
d. List all values
that affect the decision to be made.
e. Rank the values from most important
(or desirable) to least important (or undesirable).
f. Make a decision based
on your ranked values.
Create a role play simulation. Have students listen to or read the article entitled
"Gene Therapy" at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july-dec99/gene_therapy.htm
Select and define roles. Following is a guide for possible roles:
Group for the issue
· Group against the issue
(usually scientists) possibly one for and one against
· Ethicist (clergy,
legislative subcommittee member)
· Industry representative
People with stories that are personally involved in this issue
Allow students time to contemplate/research their roles
c. Present, possibly
to another class.
After now having read all the articles have the students write their own case
study. These should be relatively short (no more than a page, double-spaced).
They should use fictitious names and scenarios that revolve around any of the
ethical dilemmas involved in genetic research. When completed, these case studies
should be exchanged by other class members who should then analyze the dilemma
using the 6-step decision making model learned previously.
TO NATIONAL SCIENCE STANDARDS
Science as Inquiry
CONTENT STANDARD A: As a result of activities in grades
9-12, all students should develop
· Abilities necessary to do scientific
· Understandings about scientific inquiry
STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should
develop understanding of
· The cell
· Molecular basis
STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop
· Abilities of technological design
· Understandings about
science and technology
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
CONTENT STANDARD F: As a result
of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of
· Personal and community health
· Science and technology in
local, national, and global challenges
STANDARD G: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop
· Science as a human endeavor
of scientific knowledge
Author Sue Rippe has taught
various science classes at Northwest High School in Wichita, KS for 13 years.
She currently serves as department chair. Sue also serves as adjunct professor
of science methods at Friends University. In 2000 she was selected as the Kansas
Teacher of the Year.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute
to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com