EBWR - Our Capital Epidemic (Silent Debate: Bioethics for the Biotechnologists Part II)
Lesson 5 of 11
Objective: Students will be able to communicate ideas critical for their future roles in the biotechnology industry using appropriate language and terminology in order to engage in a bioethical debate.
Writing programs that meet the diverse needs encountered by most teachers in classrooms where students have a wide range of skills and abilities. Over thirty skills are involved in writing including grammar, syntax, and spelling. Therefore, quality writing programs must employ strategies such as direct, explicit, and systematic instruction, emphasize the importance of prewriting, provide a respectful instructional environment, and utilize checklists and rubrics to assess writing.
The needs of struggling late adolescent writers vary greatly depending upon their prior knowledge, skills, motivation and writer identity. Teachers need to stress the importance, particularly in high school instruction, of the significance of writing beyond the classroom and emphasize the value of writing in success in college or in the workplace.
Writing is not just a method of communication and expression. Several researchers have found that as with reading, improving one’s writing skills improves one’s capacity to learn and the inability to write well greatly limits adolescents’ opportunities for education and future employment. Therefore, content area teachers who can contribute to improving the writing of struggling late adolescents should positively affect these students’ literacy levels for years to come.
In an effort to motivate my late adolescent emerging writers and readers to write for extended periods of time I have them explore controversial issues in bioethics which are known for generating great debate. For example, in our nations capital, where HIV/AIDS rates are ten times the national average, one in every three residents who are combating this epidemic has gone to organizations cited for falsified documentation, having little to no clients or patients, being investigated for having incomplete spending records OR for not offering any AIDS programs whatsoever. Meanwhile our city's residents who are living with HIV/AIDS have struggled to find quality care along with the dignity they deserve.
This lesson enables students to investigate at the HIV epidemic from the point of view of the most disenfranchised of sufferers - the residents of the capital of the most powerful nation on earth. I use this lesson as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of bioethics and after students have investigated the topic in the lesson titled, Silent Debate: Bioethics for the Biotechnologists.
NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY STANDARD(S):
BT. 5.1 - Distinguish between prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells, and non-living entities such as viruses.
BT. 7.1 - Differentiate between moral, ethical, and legal biotechnology issues.
BT. 7.3 - Compare and contrast attitudes about the use of biotechnology regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Students are asked to individually review an infographic of information and annotate the graphic with their thoughts. In addition to independently analyzing the image a student volunteer or the instructor can share the "marked up" graphic with members of the class using a document camera or overhead projector using the "Think Aloud" routine.
Students complete a 35 minute timed writing on the plight of HIV/AIDS in our nation. In preparation for this extended timed writing, students engage in a group prewriting and brainstorming activity using the SWOT Case Study Notetaker to capture prominent points which surface during our class discussion. What resulted where great anchor posters that could be displayed to support students writing!