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Planning Bioethics Day: Preparation

Written by Jennifer Smyth
August 10, 2013

While we were able to work through the Promotion stage fairly quickly (it took about a week), Preparation for Bioethics Day took a lot longer. We followed a similar process for signing up for six groups: Preparatory Materials, Seminar, Cell Lab, Center 1, Center 2, and Center 3, except that the Biology teacher identified four students to plan and facilitate the Cell Lab. Guidelines and rubrics for this stage of the process can be found here. Students again worked in Google docs, although the Cell Lab group found it easier to format their materials in Microsoft Word and then upload their work to Google Drive for sharing.

This stage of the process also involved more research: the Preparatory Materials group used some materials from our study of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, but they also had to search for a brief article participants could read for background on Henrietta and her cells before coming to Bioethics Day; similarly, the Seminar group searched for and summarized the stories of additional victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program, so that participants could have a text for reference during the Seminar discussion; and the Cell Lab group drew on a variety of lab activities they found online to generate their own template for writing up a lab report. The groups for the three Center activities, which together comprised one session, also conducted research on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Nazi medical experiments, and returned to the text of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to create infographics about how far across the globe (and into space) Henrietta’s cells traveled and the impact of HeLa cells on medical research.


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