by Carolyn N. Kinder
Just open a newspaper, medical journal, magazine, go on the internet or visit a medical facility or talk to family members, friends and others. You will soon discover that humanity is confronting many ethical issues as it relates to our health and welfare. The world’s population at the beginning of the new millennium is over six billion, each in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. On one hand, individuals want to have control of their own welfare. On the other hand, society wants to advance the general health and welfare without allowing any individual or any one group to benefit at the expense of another. Sometimes these needs conflict with ethics and create difficulties in crafting a sustainable and economically sound medical system. Overall, our goals should be to balance personal choice with the general goals of society. This causes a dilemma, because what makes a moral, acceptable and fundamentally right or wrong individual is not always easy to define. How do we become morally responsible? Where do we learn values, principles and reasoning skills to solve moral problems related to health and welfare of the general society? Perhaps, bioethics, is one means to ensure the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness of society by specifying the characteristics of an ethical, rational, and economically sound system.
The purpose of developing this unit on bioethics is to make teachers aware of the characteristics and strategies used in developing a fundamentally rational, ethical, and economically sound medical system. These strategies can then be applied in resolving ethical issues in conflict. The unit will present the opportunity for teachers to engage students in moral knowledge and integrity that can and should be nurtured along with content knowledge. This will help students to become critical thinkers.
As a result, this will better help students move from a single-minded view of self towards a vision of the self in relationship to the needs of others in this world. Hopefully, this unit will raise the level of awareness in helping teachers and students face, evaluate and make hard choices now that will benefit society later. In addition, analyzing problems on ethical issues and conflict that represent life will provide a level of knowledge and comfort and make the real dilemmas less threatening.
The unit is designed for grades 5-8 and will consist of knowledge content, lesson plans, student resource list, teacher resource list and a bibliography. Science: Content Standards 5.0 and 6.0 will be used. Science Content Standard 5.0 deals with technological science which states that students will develop abilities necessary to distinguish between naturally occurring objects and those of human design, and they will develop understanding of the roles of science and technology in contemporary society. Science Content Standard 6.0 Ecology states that students will develop an understanding of personal and community health; of the characteristics of changing populations; of the ecology of and uses of natural resources; of changes in environments; and of the use of science and technology in addressing present-day local and global challenges.
Student Performance Standards 5.1, 6.1 and 6.2: Students will develop understanding of technological designs, changing population and ecology, which problems can be solved or improved through scientific information or the development of a new product or process; (2) students will develop a proposal which solves or improves a problem through a new product design or procedure; (3) students will implement the proposed new design or procedure for the improvement or demand a higher quality of life for all; (4) students will understand that all technological solutions have trade-offs or consequences which affect our environment or quality of life, and (4) students will understand that some consequences are predictable and some are not. and improve the quality of life. All of these objectives are directly related to the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT). Teachers using the unit can assess students by using portfolios, tests, written, and oral evaluations.