My classes are working on a unit entitled Scientific Responsibility, which is centered on the idea of informed consent as it relates to the story Flowers for Algernon. The second part of the unit introduced the concept of robots and their appropriate usage. These two areas have sparked much interest in the sciences and discussions on where we draw the line as a society in regards to our technology. Under the guidance of Dr. Connie Kamm, we as curriculum writers end each of our units of study with a culminating experience. For this unit we expected that students would do a mini research project in their groups (3-5) on a current scientific/technological practice and the ethics of that practice. For the ultimate impact, we wanted students to present their research to a panel of “lawmakers” in order to persuade the panel to support their proposed change.
Students are expected to:
- Include a statement of the problem, identifying what is the issue or concern that they want to address.
- Describe why the problem should be a public concern.
- Describe why the issue is relevant to address. Why do we need to change an existing policy or why should we care?
- Describe the opposing views/counterclaims regarding the issue. Why would people be against their new policy?
However, time has gotten away from us. Not only are we behind schedule on completing the unit; we have been delayed in organizing local business owners, college students, and retirees to participate in the panels. As a group, we were struggling with how to substitute the panel for an experience of equal impact. Along came the infographic to save our hides. We are now adjusting the presentation to be condensed into an infographic and sending copies of the infographics to various panelists to review and critique.
I am excited to see the results and the kids are excited to get feedback from professionals.