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Students will evaluate the use of DNA technology in today’s society.

Big Idea

The development and use of technologies may lead to social, moral, ethical, and legal issues.


5 minutes

Warm-Up: Medical procedures that were once considered unethical are now common, such as transplanting hearts or fertilizing human eggs in laboratories.  Should cloning now be acceptable like earlier scientific developments?

This question is intended to begin the discussion and thoughts for the day’s lesson.  By asking students how they feel about cloning, students are able to begin the process of considering why they feel as they do about cloning and to decide if they have enough valid information to support their opinions.

Expect students to engage in the discussion of this question.  Limit the comments to 3-5 students so that too much time will not spent in the warm-up.  Listen to students’ comments and explain that they will have an opportunity to learn about cloning in today’s lesson.

Introduce New Material

15 minutes

Inform students of the learning targets:

  • I understand how the cloning is done.
  • I can use content specific vocabulary correctly in writing about cloning.
  • I am able to consider the bioethical issues related to cloning and make a decision regarding whether I agree with it or not.

Introduce the vocabulary associated with the lesson: bioethicist, embryonic cells, heredity, genome, empathy, gene therapy, transgenic, DNA, vector, bioengineering, homozygous, heterozygous, and nuclear transfer.  Instruct students to add bolded terms to their vocabulary maps since the bolded terms have Greek or Latin root words, prefixes or suffixes.  Point out that some of these terms have already been defined and added to their maps from previous lessons.

Provide laptops for students’ use.  Using a LCD projector and laptop, model how access the Genetic Science Learning Center webpage.  Explain that today’s introduction of new material is largely computer-based.  Explain that students will be shown how to access the site and the class will move together through the computer-based activities, with the teacher leading students through the lesson parts. 

Work along with the students using a laptop and LCD projector, while narrating the lesson component entitled, What is Cloning

Be sure to play the appropriate clips associated with the segment.  After completing What is Cloning, guide students in the completion of the interactive component, Click and Clone so that they can learn how cloning occurs.  As a check for understanding lead the whole class in the completion of the interactive review, Is it Cloning or Not?

Instead of having students complete the assessment individually, instruct them to follow along with the review that is projected from your computer.  Ask a student to read each of the seven scenarios and instruct students call out, “Cloning” or “Not” after each scenario is read.

Explain that the remaining segments: Why Clone and Cloning Myths will be accessed later in the lesson when students conduct research for the performance task.

To scaffold this portion of the lesson for struggling readers, use the Kurzweil software to link to the website. Then, students will then be able to utilize the reading and vocabulary support to  comprehend the content.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Explain that students will work in groups of four to complete a Cloning Project. Explain the term, stakeholder and randomly assign a stakeholder role to each group of four students: Clergy, Community members, Mental Health Professionals, Scientists, Doctors, and Biotech Companies. Random assignment eliminates the likely debate amongst students about who gets what stakeholder assignment.

Display the cloning project assignment and discuss each of the four tasks:

  1. Create a 30 second public service announcement (PSA) or poster depicting your stakeholder group’s position on cloning
  2. Create KIM charts for at least four of the Cloning Project Vocabulary Terms.
  3. Respond to the Web Activity Cloning Questions after viewing, What is cloning?
  4. Write a 4-point essay citing four facts to show support for or against cloning based on your assigned stakeholder group (Be sure to include 4 pieces of supporting evidence FOR or AGAINST cloning).

Model how to create a KIM chart.  Also, review the Cloning project rubric with students so that they will know what is expected and how their work will be evaluated.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Instruct groups to decide who will work on each of the four tasks.  Given that there are four tasks and four students in each group, make sure that students are aware that everyone will play a role in the completion of the assignment.

Note: I find it helpful to give each group a folder of the instructions that were presented during guided practice so that they are able to refer to them as needed during the completion of the four tasks.

Instruct students to perform an internet search to find evidence to support their stakeholder group’s position for or against cloning. Provide possible search topics for students’ use:

  • Reasons for Human Cloning
  • Why clone 
  • Cloning myths 
  • The impact on a cloned child
  • Medical dangers of cloning
  • Medical benefits of cloning
  • The legal issues surrounding cloning
  • Societal dangers of cloning
  • The argument against human cloning

Release students to work on the assignment.  Walk around to monitor students as they work and provide assistance, as needed.

The four student work samples that are included provide examples of the type of work products that should be expected:

  1. The cloning KIM chart reflects complete definitions and memory cues that help students recall the term and its meaning.
  2. The cloning Assignment responses to the nine questions show that students were able to answer the questions about the cloning process.
  3. The cloning position paper shows that the students appropriately cited evidence to support their position regarding cloning.
  4. The cloning poster reflected the position of the group with supporting information displayed succinctly.
  5. The cloning commercial reflects reflects their stakeholder group's position on cloning.

Giving groups  the task of submitting differentiated work products increases the chance that every student in the group will find a task that they will find engaging.


5 minutes

Remind students that one of the learning targets at the start of the lesson was :

I am able to consider the bioethical issues related to cloning and make a decision regarding whether I agree with it or not.

Conduct an informal assessment of their attainment of ths target by asking students to respond to this question:

I personally support  or oppose cloning because...

Allow students to share their differing viewpoints with the class with one requirement, that they must be able to cite the bioethical issues that support their position. Expect that some students will still attempt to share their opinions without consideration of the evidence that may support their point of view so be prepared to challenge those students who speak without making reference to the information they learned during the assignment.

This assignment is one of my favorites and one that students talk about long after its done.  Because of the real-world implications of the topic, students readily engage in the conversation and learning.