Making Decisions

Carriers of a inherited condition have to make many difficumaking decisionslt decisions including what to do if they want children. In this activity students are placed in the role of a couple who are carriers of beta thalassaemia major. They are guided through how to make a difficult ethical decision and are introduced to IVF and the technology of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

Learning objectives

  • Explain how IVF with PGD can be used to help a couple with an inherited condition to have a healthy child.
  • Recognise ethical, social and economic arguments and use them to make an informed choice.

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Curriculum link

England National Curriculum KS3:

  • Working Scientifically: Make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • Biology: Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes: heredity as the process by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next.     Reproduction: reproduction in humans (as an example of a mammal), including…gametes, fertilisation.

GCSE Combined Science subject content:

  • Working Scientifically:  Development of scientific thinking: explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • Biology: Inheritance: explain single gene inheritance, predict the results of single gene crosses.

Running the activity

Engage 1 Students get into role and learn about the options from a genetic counsellor
Explore 1 Simulation on choosing an option using goal-based ethics
Explore 2 Using duty-based ethics to explore the issues surrounding IVF with PGD
Explore 3 Students use the decision making lifeline to explore the social and economic factors
Explain Using discussion to make a personal decision
Evaluate Students make their decision

For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


UKTS Thalassaemia, your life

A video clip which shows what it is like for a young child to have beta thalassaemia major.

Meet the couple
Video clip where the couple introduce themselves and explain why they are visiting a genetic counsellor.

Meet the counsellor
The genetic counsellor goes through the options open to the couple in order to have another child.

What is IVF with PGD?
Alison Lashwood, a PGD specialist explains what IVF with PGD involves.

How do you make a difficult ethical decision?
Allison Streetly, OBE and Director of the NHS Screening Programme introduces ways of making ethical decisions.

Freedom to choose
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Freedom to choose’.

Rights of the child
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Rights of the child’.

Playing God
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Playing God’.

Social and economic factors
Alison Lashwood discusses the social and economic factors surrounding the decision to use IVF with PGD.

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  • 0psonise says:

    Worked well as the Big Picture Lesson

    Thank you so much. I have used this activity with my Year 11 class as an introduction to inheritance unit, worked really well with students. I am now laying out the videos on my personal website to facilitate students exploring in small groups on laptops. I will be teaching my Year 10 the new AQA Reproduction unit next. I am planning to use this activity as the main story to pull all the concepts together.
    Here’s the sequence if anyone want to use it or
    Lesson 1 Making decision
    Lesson 2 Reproduction
    Lesson 3 Meiosis
    Lesson 4 DNA
    Lesson 5 Protein synthesis
    Lesson 6 Inheriting traits
    Lesson 7 Sex chromosomes
    Lesson 8 Inheriting disorders

  • jostandley says:

    Making decisions

    Interest was high but i hoped for a bit more genetics and a lot less ethics!

  • camillabwold says:

    Engaging but sound too low

    The resources were all very engaging and the problems were well explained. However, the students struggled to hear the sound in most of the videos as it was very quiet!