Cloning Socratic Seminar

After viewing Never Let Me Go as part of our PAGES experience at the Wexner Center, students were eager to learn more about human cloning.  We read the following articles in class: “Human-Pig” Chimera Embryos DetailedWhatever Happened to Cloning? and The Science of Human Cloning.  Students read independently and together, annotating their texts and generating questions.  Questions fuel Socratic Seminars!

Socratic Seminar is a great way to get students involved in a text- questioning, analyzing and citing.  If you need more information about what a Socratic Seminar is, guidelines, or forms, I like this Teacher Resource Packet.

On the day of seminar, we sat in a large circle.  Students were expected to contribute to the discussion meaningfully at least three times (asking a question or responding to a question).  When applicable, they needed to refer specifically to one of the texts.

I was impressed with the discussion and the willingness of students to participate!  We could have easily spent two days on this.  Some interesting points and questions that students came up with are:  cloning clones, how to define what is right and wrong, and the need to evolve and change.  Students came up with interesting analogies and even brought in the issue of cloned food.  You can see our notes here:  Human Cloning Seminar Notes.

There are a lot of variations you can try with seminars.  If you have a large group, you could split into two circles, creating a fishbowl (inner and outer circle).  Students could then have a partner with whom to collaborate.  Each circle would have the chance to discuss in the inner circle, while the outer circle tracks their partners and writes notes of anything additional to bring up next.  If students are struggling generating questions, or if you don’t have a lot of time, you could use teacher-generated questions.

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