Striding into the Scientific Future: Illuminating Clinical Trials

General Description of the Major Project
Students will participate in a simulation of a Senate hearing before the committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. http://help.senate.gov/
This major project is designed to bring together concepts students have explored in science, language arts, and government classes over the past weeks.

The subject of the hearing is to determine whether the Senate will approve a bill proposing federal regulations on the use of tanning booths by minors and a mandated education program on sun awareness. Students will take on the roles of Senate members and various special interest groups. One of the special interest groups will be scientists who are proposing a clinical study to evaluate the effects of UV exposure on the skin when received through artificial (mechanical) means. Other students will take the parts of business owners, young survivors of skin cancer, or representatives of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This study would provide in-depth information about UV exposure’s impact on human skin. Language arts will support this simulated hearing by guiding the students through the writing of an informed consent document that would be used to safeguard the rights of the human subjects in the proposed clinical studies.

Introducing the project to your students
We suggest introducing the Senate Hearing project at the end of the first week. Discuss the project as described above at the end of the science lesson Clinical Trials: An Introduction, at the end of the government lesson Government Intervention and at the end of the lesson The Doctor will see You. Review with the students what you will be doing as a class over the next few weeks to help them prepare to give their testimony. Explain to the students that they will be divided into senate members and members of special interest groups after the government lesson, Who has the Greatest Voice.

Which lessons are central to the Major Project?
The major project is designed to provide a forum for students to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the unit in the context of an environmental health or biomedical issue. In other units there are some lessons that are more pertinent to the major project than others. In this unit all lessons contribute strongly to the major project. You may decide to choose either a biology or physics tact or focus more on the government lessons if you wish.

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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