NWABR Bioethics in the Science Classroom, Day 2


Giant Tree in Pack Forrest Woods

Today we started out by looking at a ton of resources that are useful for both Bioethics and general Biology topics.  The list is posted below:


Northwest Association for Biomedical Research




Ethics Updates (University of San Diego)


Genetic Science Learning Center


High School Bioethics Curriculum Project


Genome Sciences- University of Washington


National center for Case Study Teaching in Science


National Institute of Health- Exploring Bioethics


Your Genes, Your Choices: Exploring the Issues Raised by Genetic Research



These topics were really awesome and you can request free resources from a lot of these resources.  I took a look at the National Institute of Health, which are very high quality, and ordered a lot of the free materials.  It is crucial to order these materials soon- as there is uncertainty due to budget constraints.  It appears that there is no funding going to the National Institute of Health in regards to educational outreach, basically getting rid of the office and all materials.


Next, we went through the basic curriculum of Bioethics 101 by NWABR.  We started by reviewing how many of the lead teachers integrate Bioethics into their current classes.  This was interesting, and I’m hoping to have a bioethical part of most of the units that I already cover.  Furthermore, when we cover Matt Killeen, our 9th grade World History teacher covers the Holocaust, I have some great resources on Ethics that came from the Nuremberg code as well as multiple articles that deal with morality.  I am very much interested in this collaboration to better teach our students.


We then reviewed the homework that we had to complete prior to the program.  I ended up reviewing most of the materials on the flight out here to Seattle.  Just the materials that we completed gave even greater understanding to the homework assignment, and I feel like I understand how to teach Ethics at a deeper level.


After lunch, we completed a case study called “Dennis’s Decision.”  This describes an ethical dilemma of treatment of a medical condition with a patient refusing treatment.  This was a very engaging case study, and the NWABR curriculum guides the process very thoroughly.  There’s just something extra when you have curriculum designed by teachers and created for teachers- everything just clicks better than from a textbook.


Finally, we ended the experience today by looking at the question “How much does the volume of a gummy bear increase after soaking in water?”  My group decided to check the gummy bears volume by water displacement.  We’ll look at our results tomorrow.


Gummy Bear Experiment

Soon, it will be dinner time, and tonight at 7 pm we will be watching the movie “Rare.”

Day 2- We’re ahead of our schedule!

Day 2 started out with me taking the train in, and getting there an hour early.  I worked on some catch up reading until the lab opened at 9 am.

Fjodor and I decided that we are going to start each day setting our daily goals.  Our daily goals were to finish figuring out what supplies we needed, inventory the goods that we had already received, and start compiling questions for Nate for the meeting we were going to have on Thursday.

We got through all of those goals in about an hour, so we started constructing our first lab: Introduction to Electronics.  It’s interesting planning a laboratory with another teacher, because you each have different perspectives on what makes a “good” lab. 

Fjodor and I talked a lot about labs and education in general in preparation for editing the labs.  We then started editing the first lab, and split it into a Teacher’s edition and Student’s edition.

The teacher’s edition has references to Massachusetts and National Frameworks, setup tips, ways to pull students in, and additional resources.  We started work on expanding the laboratory to give students a greater understanding and make it inquiry-based.

We had another brown bag lunch, but this time it was with all of the other RETs.  Helen Fawcett was our speaker, and she gave a fantastic talk on “Project Management & Research Skills.”

We ended the day working more on the labs.  We had planned on starting to edit the labs next Monday, so we are already ahead of our timeline!  We get tomorrow off, so I’m going to the Esplanade to celebrate the 4th of July!