American Institute of Biological Sciences
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Who Owns Rights To Pharmacogenetic Information? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science:Examples
This lesson guides students to examine the potential benefits, risks, and ethical concerns of designer drugs. Students begin by reading an article titled Ethical Issues in Pharmacogenetics by Carol Isaacson Barash, an ActionBioscience.org original article. Next they will read information on the National Human Genome Research Institute on Pharmacogenetics: Frequently Asked Questions about Pharmacogenomics. Instructors can then use the lesson to guide students through shorter activities and/or one main activity. The smaller activities involve students in describing the research behind the issue, making it accessible to a less-informed audience, and in exploring the ethical issues outlined in the article to support various points of view. The larger activity is for upper level students to gather evidence to support particular perspectives so that they can present different views about the ownership of human DNA information.
Has Our Knowledge of Neuroscience Led to Ethical Dilemmas? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science:Examples
This is a lesson dealing with a new subdivision of bioethics called neuroethics. As our knowledge of the brain and nervous system expands, so do the ethical issues that result from this knowledge. This new area of study results from our increasing research in the field of neurobiology. In the first part of this activity, students will discuss the stigma associated with psychological illness. They will then be introduced to Dr. Kay Jamison who discusses some of the ethical implications of bipolar disorder. The class will take part in an activity called a Topical Barometer where they will have to choose a position regarding an ethical decision. In Part 2 of the activity, they will write a position paper after exploring the topic of drug enhancement, another controversial issue in the world of neuroscience. From the original handout text by Caren Gough
Human Cloning: Is it biological plagiarism? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science:Examples
This lesson guides students to learn the science behind cloning, explore the benefits and consequences of human cloning, and communicate their knowledge and points of view. Students begin by reading an article titled Primer on Ethics and Cloning by Dr. Glenn McGee, available for free on the AIBS's ActionBioscience.org website. The lesson provides questions for the instructor to guide a class discussion about the article. Instructors can then choose from different activities to engage students further in this issue. One activity has students role play advisory teams providing information to a committee on the ethical issues of human cloning. The teams conduct research online, keep a journal recording their research paths, and answer questions in presentation format. Another activity has students researching and presenting information on human cloning. Through their research students can learn about cloning technology and related laws, as well as the perspectives of groups or individual scientist's viewpoints. Included are web site evaluation worksheets that are useful for student internet searches on any topic.
Which Strategy is Best to Ensure the Conservation of Endangered Species? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science:Examples
Students learn about endangered species and actions humans have taken to address the issue of endangered species. The Xpeditions lesson has students think about their experiences with zoos, learn about the reasons for captive breeding, and come up with an opinion about the role of zoos and aquariums in addressing this issue. The additional activity in the Teaching Materials section has students learn about a controversy within the scientific community regarding the captive breeding of tigers. Students will read articles written by the scientists, develop an opinion, discuss the issue with their classmates, and draw a conclusion based upon additional information they have researched.
Extinction: Is it inevitable? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science:Examples
Students read an article titled "The Sixth Extinction" by Niles Eldredge on past mass extinctions and the current rate of loss of species. The instructor can choose from a suite of activities which include having students respond to discussion and extension questions about the article, write an essay on the article defending Eldredge's view, create an extinction chart, and debate the actions of stakeholders faced with an endangered species vs. human water needs scenario. Students will need to research additional references to complete the activities and be prepared to defend their positions.
Using Socioscientific Issues-Based Instruction part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Using Issues to Teach Science
Image credit: Enokson By Sandra M. Latourelle, Plattsburgh State University, Plattsburgh, NY Alex Poplawsky, Emory University, Atlanta, GA Brian Shmaefsky, Lone Star College, Kingwood, TX Susan Musante, American ...