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Students will explore ethical issues that are related to medical research and the impact of these issues as related to Biotechnology, American Literature, U.S. History and Mathematics. The culminating projects has students working collaboratively in a group to apply what they know about civil rights, biotechnology, and the exploitation of vulnerable populations to research and create a sensitivity training for organizations or individuals who might be performing medical research using living organisms. This entire project covers approximately three weeks of curriculum.

-In Biotechnology, students will explore the concerns related to using humans as test subjects and the subsequent shift to the study of cells.
-American Literature will analyze "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, various texts, and primary sources, so that students can compose and evaluate science narrative writing.
-U.S. History will analyze the role and unethical treatment of minorities as related to medical research. Furthermore the students will understand the role of government in the regulation of medical research through government agencies.
-Mathematics give students the skills needed to analyze data generated by medical research and the ethical responsibility to interpret said data fairly.

Students will:
• Identify government agencies responsible for research and ethics oversight.
• Define the terms morals and ethics.
• Describe common processes used in research to prevent unethical and immoral acts.
• Use various methods to monitor the growth of cell cultures.
• Represent data using mathematical tools (functions and trend lines).
• Demonstrate reading comprehension of scientific narrative through the writing of a clear and effective paraphrase.
• Use advanced knowledge of pacing and plotline to come to a conclusion and predict outcomes in scientific text.
• Competently include figurative language techniques in science writing.

Relevant careers:
Biomedical Researcher Scientist, Medical research Scientist, Laboratory technician, Medical professionals, Scientist both academic and applied. Hospital and University administrators where research is performed. Science journalists.

This unit is brought to you by Armando Gonzales (CTE - Biotechnology), Susan Carle (American Literature), Jeremy Bucko (U.S. History), and Mariela Figueroa (Mathematics) with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by Sheri Coburn.


Industries / Pathways
  • Health Science and Medical Technology
K-12 Subjects
  • English-Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History/Social Science
Grade Levels
  • 11

The Evolution of Medical Research (CTE)

Use of Cells in Medical Research (CTE)

Testing a Medicine's Efficacy: Using Aerobic Plate Count APC (CTE)

Counting bacteria (Enumeration) and Analyzing Data for Trends (CTE)

Civil Rights Issues in the Early Jim Crow Era (History/Social Science)

Medical Experimentation and Exploitation in the Jim Crow Era (History/Social Science)

Ethics and Human Research (History/Social Science)

Civil Rights Sensitivity Training for Bio-Medical Research (History/Social Science)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Organization Activities (ELA)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Literal Comprehension Activities (ELA)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Inference / Interpretation & Prediction Activities (ELA)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Evaluation Activities (ELA)

HeLa Cell Trends: Linear vs. Arithmetic Graphs (Math)

Accurately Representing Data (Math)

Modeling Cell Division (Math)

Interpretation of Trendlines (Math)

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