We were thrilled to have earned a spot as a speaker at the National Conference for the Social Studies, taking place right now in St. Louis, Missouri. pgEd is sharing several of its lesson plans – Eugenics and Genetics, Genes, Jobs and Genetic Discrimination and DNA and Crime. How do these fit into a social studies classroom? We believe these topics can be integrated into a number of areas. Eugenics was an important movement in the United States in the early half of the 20th century, and teachers may find it adds to the discussions they are already having about immigration, industrialization and the move to cities, as well as leading up to understanding certain aspects of WWII. We know history teachers are often asked to teach a wide variety of topics and many departments offer interdisciplinary courses and electives. In our lesson about genetics and employment, we examine the passage of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, signed into law by George Bush and recognized by Senator Edward Kennedy as ” the first civil rights legislation of the 21st century”. This is a wonderful topic to cover in the context of civil rights or in a government class, and in a law elective as well. The same is true of our DNA and crime lesson, where we highlight the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the collection of DNA for people who are arrested (but not necessarily charged or convicted) of a crime, and look at the role genetic information plays in our judicial system.
The lesson plans are all here. Our materials are being revised and updated and new versions will be available shortly!