The students from Mrs. Nancy Ristau’s Honor’s English 12 class divided into oppositional groups; pro-cloning and anti – cloning. One by one they took the stage and presented their arguments as they attempted to sway their fellow classmates to their way of thinking. Supporters stood with signs to reinforce their speaker’s point of view. As the end of the hour neared, there was no clear winner but a lot of students had effectively put forth many new ideas to their peers and observing adults.
As a Project Based Learning (PBL) assignment, the students began with a common thought and created a plan to address their chosen topic. They began the project by sending a survey to certain classes to chronicle beliefs. From the survey results, questions were developed and the opposing positions were decided. Students researched cloning and how this issue has affected American society. The student speakers were divided into distinct segments that addressed morality, cost, and scientific vs moral or ethical issues.
This is how Mrs. Ristau described her students’ journey: “This all came about as a result of their summer reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. After reading the novel and watching the movie, along with supplemental current movies of The Island and Replica, the students decided that they wanted to explore the ideology behind cloning more. We began with a driving question involving the following: ‘When, if ever, should cloning be considered a morally and scientifically viable option in American society?’
“From this driving question, the students, first, responded to it via a blog posting on my web page (nristau.weebly.com). From their initial responses, they then shared it with Ms. McCrosky’s biology classes to gather more responses. From this, their overall ‘It’s ALIVE!’ project hatched in the form of a debate. They discovered that their Honors English 12 class, of 24, decidedly had differing opinions regarding the topic and they decided to do a debate so that the various groups could offer their opinions, via selected speakers, and they could then hear each other’s sides, complete with research to back up their stances of pro or con. While this was playing out, there was also a group who was undecided and who opened our debate today by showcasing the survey results that they had distributed, both on paper and online, to gather further information regarding people’s thoughts when it comes to this decidedly controversial topic. What you saw today was their end-result after weeks of research and planning so that they could effectively debate with one another and also could pose 21st century information regarding the future. Their work is also posted via the W&L PBL web page (http://wl.wmlcps.org/pbl.html).” A video of the debate will be posted soon on the school site.
For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 11/13/19
Senior Shane McNeil refutes the impact of cloning on society and addresses the costs
associated with it. His team, Rayshad Gaskins, Magail Rodriquez, Tinya Thompson,
and Ronelle Carter hold signs of support.