Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology Socratic Seminar

The topics of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology bring up numerous interesting and controversial questions.  Should organisms, including humans, be genetically modified?  Can stem cells be used for medical purposes?  What about to make humans “better?”  The list of questions goes on and while definite answers may not exist, they are interesting to discuss nonetheless.

This activity will provide such an opportunity.  In class we will discuss the following three questions/topics for approximately 10 minutes each.  This will be conducted in a socratic seminar format: a group of students (approximately 8) will be the primary individuals presenting and discussing research while all other students will be active listeners; students not primarily participating in current discussion will be able to “jump in” for a quick comment, question, or prompt.  Discussion participation will be required as outlined by the rubric below (sharing research and thoughts will be necessary) and selection for primary discussion students participating in each topic will be random.  The unit assessment will be based on the questions and discussions of the seminar.

The following discussion points and resources will be helpful in preparing for the seminar; resources are only meant to be a starting point for your research.

Socratic Seminar Topics:

  1. Should human DNA (adult or embryos) be genetically modified?
  1. What are the subtopics?
  2. Examples?
  3. Argument for & against?
  4. Resources:
  1. Don’t edit the human genome
  2. Chinese Scientist Who Edited Babies Defends His Work
  3. First Results of CRISPR Gene Editing
  4. CRISPR inventor explains how it works
  5. First human embryos edited in U.S.
  6. In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos
  7. Editing Human Embryos Could be Ok in the Future
  8. Genetic engineering will change everything forever
  9. Scientist argues her case to edit human embryos
  10. As Genetic Sequencing Spreads, Excitement, Worries Grow
  11. Pharmacogenetics (use of individual’s genetic information for drug prescription)
  12. In 2018, We will CRISPR Human Beings
  13. Superfast DNA sequencing
  14. Should we live to 1,000?
  15. Gene therapy looks to have cured man with blood disease
  16. Biohacking: You can do it
  17. Making cells live forever?
  18. Steve Jobs has DNA sequenced for gene therapy
  19. Google Maps for DNA: Turning off and on gene switches
  20. It now only costs $100 to know everything about your DNA
  21. Gene editing starts to save lives

  1. Should stem cells (non embryonic stem cells) be used for medical purposes?
  1. What are the subtopics?
  2. Example
  3. Argument for & against
  4. Resources:
  1. TED Talk: Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?
  2. TED Talk: Growing new organs (This will blow your mind.  Seriously)
  3. TED Talk: The potential of regenerative medicine
  4. Scientists create part pig, part human embryo
  5. How can stem cells advance medicine?
  6. First human trials involving reprogrammed stem cells could come next year
  7. Stem cells being made from blood cells
  8. Oregon Live: Human genetic modification shows promise
  9. Curing of HIV by Stem Cells
  10. Extra Chromosome 21 removed Down Syndrome Cell
  11. Printing Stem Cells

  1. Should Genetically Modified Organisms be produced and used?
  1. What are the subtopics?
  2. Examples?
  3. Argument for & against?
  4. Resources:
  1. The Debate about GMO Safety is Over
  2. Scientists Create first genetically modified human embryo
  3. How technology gave us cheap food - and why it has to stop
  4. Fighting superbugs
  5. CRISPR inventor explains how it works
  6. Controlling crop pest evolution
  7. Superweed discovered in Great Britain?
  8. Genetically Engineered Food
  9. Labeling GMO Food
  10. Synthetic biology and rise of the “Spider-Goats”
  11. USA Today: Genetically altered food Q & A
  12. Golden Rice: Lifesafer?
  13. That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed
  14. Monsanto is Going Organic
  15. Can GMOs end Hunger in Africa?

Assessment:  Personal Engagement

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student engages with the exploration and makes it their own.  Personal engagement may be recognized in different attributes and skills.  These could include addressing personal interests or showing evidence of independent thinking, creativity, or initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation.

IB Mark

TuHS Mark

Descriptor

2

Exceeds (4)

  • The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is clear with significant independent thinking, initiative or insight.
  • The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topic under investigation demonstrates personal significance, interest or curiosity
  • There is evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation

1

Meets (3)

  • The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is limited with little independent thinking, initiative or insight
  • The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topix under investigation does not demonstrate personal significance, interest or curiosity
  • There is little evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation

0

Beginning (1)

            The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors above.