Striding into the Scientific Future - Language Arts Lessons

Big Idea
Over the past two centuries, medical treatments have changed appreciably. This is due to innovations in medical research that are often driven by clinical trials on humans. Participation in these trials is important for advancing the field of medicine and for improving patient outcomes, but participation does come at a cost. Capably informing people and interested agencies of the risks and benefits associated with these studies is essential.
Essential Question
How are participants at different levels of the clinical trial process informed?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Students will:
Class period & week

The Doctor will see you now
Video and discussion.

Compare management of illnesses over history and discuss the development of new treatments and drugs

Week 1
Day 1

A Man of Integrity and Courage
Read article about ethics of clinical trials and discussion of implications

Read a historical document about ethics in clinical testing and discuss how it addresses the needs of society

Week 1
Days 2-4

Two specific documents
Analysis of two different types of writing and discussion of how they each serve their intended audience

Read and analyze an informed consent form and discuss position papers. Evaluate what information is required for different parties.

Week 1& 2
Days 5-8

Safeguarding the rights of the study participant. Creation of document to inform a particular audience about their possible risks in a clinical trial.

Write an informed consent document for participants in a tanning bed clinical study.

Week 2 & 3
Days 9-11
Final Project
The Biomed unit project
Creation of a persuasive essay from the perspective of an assigned interested party in the government regulation of tanning beds

Students will be assigned a special interest group and will write persuasive essays (position papers) for a mock Senate hearing

Week 3+
Days 12-16


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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