Category Archives: Bioethics

Unit Wrap-up

We concluded our Bioethics and the Nature of Science unit with the following activities:

  • Student feedback from Friday’s Guest Speakers
  • Student thank you “cards” for Guest Speakers
  • Return of all Unit 0 student work
  • Revise and resubmit justification paragraph (if needed)
  • Review Limits of Science worksheet packet

Bioethical Case Study

We continued our study of bioethics by applying our learning about the Principles of Bioethics and the vocabulary term of stakeholders to the Rezip Case Study.  Students received a copy of the case study to read as homework at the end of class yesterday.  We reviewed the reading at the beginning class, identifying key stakeholders and working through the vocabulary.  Students received the Ethical Decision-Making Framework handout and worked in small groups and as a class to fill out the first 5 sections.  A completed copy of the first five sections is available here (front and back) for students to use as a reference.  Students were assigned the last section (write a justification paragraph) as homework.  A paragraph frame is available here for students who would like extra support in structuring their paragraph.

Framework for Ethical Decisions

With textbook checkout taking a bit longer than anticipated on Friday, we began the week by finishing Friday’s lesson with students  taking notes on the Principles of Bioethics.  We then discussed the concept of a stakeholder, a person with an interest or concern in something.

We revisited the issue of people choosing not to have their children vaccinated (introduced on Friday) by watching another short video from Frontline (below).  Students were tasked with writing down a list of the stakeholders they observed in the news segment.

After the video, we created a class list of stakeholders and students used the list to help them fill out the Focus on the Principles worksheet with the ethical question of “Should healthy people choose not to be vaccinated?”  After some private think time, we shared out as a class and answered questions about the Principles of Bioethics.  Students were instructed to keep the worksheet as a resource to use in tomorrow’s work.

To conclude the lesson, students received a copy of the Rezip Case Study to read in class.  Students were assigned to complete the reading as homework if additional time outside of class was needed.


Optional additional learning opportunities (click the links):

US Dept of Health & Human Services definition of herd immunity

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) FastStats page for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

Washington State Department of Health – certificate of exemption (note the provider section)

SciShow follow-up video about “The Science of Anti-Vaccination”

NOVA | Vaccines –– Calling the Shots | PBS – a video examining the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, and the risks of opting out

Principles of Bioethics

In our abbreviated Friday class period, students had the opportunity to check out a biology textbook to take home and use as a study guide.  For the remaining time in class, we continued our study of bioethics by taking notes on the Principles of Bioethics and then applying that learning to the bioethical problem of vaccination.  Students learned about a measles outbreak in the United States back in early 2015 by watching the video below.  After, they filled out the Focus on the Principles worksheet with the ethical question of “Should healthy people choose not to be vaccinated?”

Introduction to Bioethics

We launched our mini bioethics unit with an entry task that asked students to recall the definition of biology (the study of life) and to commit to memory the meaning of the prefix “bio-” (life).  Students then took notes about values, morals, ethics, and bioethics and applied their new understanding of ethics to identify the two ethical questions contained in a list of nine different questions.  Students may download the class notes by clicking here.  We concluded the lesson with the Pandemic Flu! exercise, in which students were tasked with considering who would and would not receive a life-saving vaccine during a hypothetical pandemic flu outbreak.  For homework, students were assigned to write a paragraph about an imaginary scenario where two values conflict and a decision must be made.