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An Internet WebQuest

HUMAN CLONING: SOME ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Introduction

In this WebQuest, students research the moral, ethical, and legal aspects associated with cloning technology and with human cloning in particular. They learn what a clone is and how cloning is accomplished. They learn what legislation already exists to control cloning and what regulations the National Bioethics Advisory Commission has recommended for cloning technologies in the future. Students learn about the advantages and the disadvantages of human cloning. Students form an opinion about whether human cloning should be allowed. Then they make a list of ethical standards that they believe should govern cloning of human beings. Finally, they write a survey, give it to friends, family members, or teachers and classmates, and compare the results of the survey with their own opinion.

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Task

Students will form an opinion about whether or not human cloning should be allowed. Once they have done the appropriate Internet research, they will write their list of ethical standards to govern human cloning. Then they will create a survey with questions derived from their list, and give the survey to friends, classmates, or family members. They will compile the results and compare them to their own opinion.

Objectives

  • Explain what a clone is and describe the cloning technique that resulted in the birth of the sheep Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned using differentiated cells.

  • Summarize the moral and ethical issues with respect to the use of cloning to produce human beings.

  • Identify the legislation that already exists to control the use of cloning techniques.

  • Form an opinion as to whether or not human cloning should be allowed.

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Resources

Students will use the Internet links given to find out the answers to these questions.

  1. What is cloning?

  2. How are clones made?

  3. What are some of the legal issues involved in cloning of humans?

  4. What are some of the moral and ethical concerns about cloning?

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Time

3 class periods; about two weeks for out of class work to be completed.

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Process

As students progress through the list of web sites, you may help them refine their thinking skills by asking the following questions.

  1. Is it acceptable to clone genes? What about cloning human tissue, organs for transplantation, or whole organisms?

  2. Should cloning of certain kinds of organisms be permitted, but cloning of other kinds of organisms be banned?

  3. Who should make the decisions about whether or not to allow cloning? If legislators make the decisions, should they first be required to hear what scientists, physicians, and the public think about this issue?

  4. If cloning of animals is allowed, would you want to clone your favorite pet? Why or why not?

  5. Do you think a clone of a human would be exactly like the person being cloned? What other factors might influence how a human clone developed?

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Evaluation

Use the following rubric to evaluate studentsí paragraphs. You can assign any point structure to the rubric to equal the points assigned to this task.

Human Cloning: Some Ethical Considerations

Research and
Gather Information
1.) Does not collect any information that relates to the topic 2.) Collects very little information; some relates to the topic.
  3.) Collects basic information;
most relates to topic
4.) Collects a great deal of information; all relates to the topic
Form an Opinion/Create List of Ethical Standards 1.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses no questions in standards list. 2.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses few questions in standards list.
  3. ) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses some of the questions in standards list. 4.) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses most of the important questions in standards list.
Grammar and Spelling 1.) Frequent grammar and spelling errors. 2.) More than two grammar and spelling errors.
  3.) Only one or two errors in grammar and spelling 4.) All grammar and spelling correct
Professionalism 1.) Illegible handwriting, page dirty or torn 2.) Legible handwriting, print hard to read, page dirty
  3.) Legible handwriting well-formed characters, clean copy 4.) Word processed or typed, clean copy
Timeliness 1.) Letter handed in more than one week late 2.) Letter handed in up to one week late
  3.) Letter handed in up to two days late 4.) Letter handed in on time

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Conclusion

Students should be able to write lists of ethical standards that detail the formation of their opinions about whether or not human cloning should be allowed. Survey questions should be drawn from their individual lists of standards. Students may decide to change their opinion after the survey results are in. Students should be able to support their opinions with facts from their Internet research.

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