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McREL Standards Activity

Seeing Double

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to determine whether cloning qualifies as biological reproduction.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
 Standard 4.Understands the principles of heredity and related concepts
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 3. Understands asexual and sexual reproduction (e.g., in asexual reproduction, all the genes come from a single parent; in sexual reproduction, an egg and sperm unite and half of the genes come from each parent, so the offspring is never identical to either of its parents; sexual reproduction allows for greater genetic diversity; asexual reproduction limits the spread of disadvantageous characteristics through a species)
Student Product:Short position paper
Material & Resources:No special resources required for this activity.
Teacher's Note:Information is provided below as well as on the websites
Scientists have recently used advancements in biotechnology to successfully clone a sheep named Dolly, producing two identical offspring.  Look at the web page and read about the process used to clone the sheep.  Do you think this process qualifies as biological reproduction?

Part 1
In class, discuss the definition of the biological term "reproduction."  Look at other forms of reproduction (e.g., sexual and asexual reproduction).  Does cloning fit into the traditional definition of reproduction?  Does the definition of reproduction need to be modified?  Or does cloning fall outside the realm of reproduction?  Discuss why cloning qualifies or does not qualify as a form of biological reproduction. Elicit opinions from students, then inform them that they will be obtaining information to support their opinions. Provide them a copy of the URL provided above for background information. If possible, provide them with a chance to go to the library and/or computer lab to research. In preparation for a debate, have them write a short position paper (1-2 pages) outlining their opinion regarding the scientific nature of cloning and provide scientific facts to support this stance. Point out that while cloning has a lot of ethical concerns, the question they will be addressing is of a scientific nature.

Part 2
Have students divide into two sides, based on their opinion. Instruct them that they will now be deciding the nature of Morag and Megan. Act as the moderator, choosing students alternately from each side to present a point or respond to the other side. The debate need not be long, perhaps 15-20 minutes.