For Educators

Bioethics: Where the Future May Take Us – Background


Recent developments in gene cloning, imaging technologies, and transplantation have given rise to difficult and troubling ethical questions. In this unit, students explore bioethical dilemmas in several areas. They look at the promise and the perils of creating life through cloning and other processes, the intersection of brain imaging technology with privacy issues, and questions about the use and allocation of high-tech medical care. They reflect on these issues in relation to the overarching theme of the rapid advance of technology and the unknown future.

Resources include segments from RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, Web sites, and interviews with guest speakers. As a culminating activity, students explore and synthesize the themes of the lesson through arts activities.

Grade Level:

Grades 6-8

Time Allotment:

This lesson [unit] can carry over anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the level of interest and commitment to the topic.

Subject Matter:

Science; social studies; English/ language arts; religion

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

  • Use a variety of materials and resources to research and report on ethical issues involving technology, medicine, and reproduction.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of bioethical issues, articulating potential risks and benefits.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of bioethical issues in literature and films.
  • Create group poems and dramatic pieces around bioethical themes.


This lesson was prepared by: Kathleen M. Cochran, Ed.M.