Should Scientists Be Allowed to Edit Heritable Genes? A Guide to Having Ethical Discussions in a Middle School Classroom

Arianna Bonner, Social Studies, Martin Luther King Middle

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit will cover a broad spectrum of content areas. The goal of this unit is to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of controversial and sensitive topics, such as bioethics. Students will learn about the development of genetic research overtime. Students will learn about ethics in the medical and scientific fields. Students will explore general historical significance of scientific and medical research as it pertains to the study of genetics and biology. As a result, students will be able to explain and articulate sound arguments around the topics covered in this unit. Through rigorous research practices and thorough investigations, students will develop arguments and use those arguments in a modified Lincoln Douglas style debate. The hope is that their ability to discuss their research will help with their cognitive abilities to retain the information. Through guided discussions, students will gain better understandings of their own beliefs and views as well as those of their peers. This will in turn provide students with a platform to practice empathy as well as reason to explore science and history. Students will also gain deeper connections between a multitude of content areas to help bridge a cross-curricular divide between science and history.