University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Structuring discussions

Writing frames

These can be based around some prompts to keep discussion flowing. For example:

  • Why do you think that?
  • What is your reason for that?
  • Can you think of another argument for your view?
  • Can you think of an argument against your view?
  • How do you know?
  • What is your evidence?
  • Is there another argument for what you believe?

Another example is the use of questions to evaluate the scientific evidence presented in an article or piece of work.

  • What scientific evidence is included?
  • Who collected the scientific evidence?
  • How was the scientific evidence collected?
  • What does the scientific evidence tell us?
  • What are the limitations of the scientific evidence?

Using different perspectives

Goals, rights and responsibilities

While not actually going so far as to develop a role play students can be encouraged to think through ethical questions from different perspectives.

It is often useful to make a table with the different actors in the ethical dilemma as rows and for each their goals, rights and responsibilities. Goals are things we aim for, rights are things that are due to us and responsibilities are the things we owe others. For example:

  Goals Rights Responsibilities
Father Healthy sibling Freedom to reproduce  
Mother Healthy sibling. Baby without inherited disorder Freedom to reproduce To both her children
Unborn Baby   To life without assault  
Sibling To become well    

The trick is to make sure you've a sensible balance covering enough of the main actors in the scenario. For instance in the case of reproductive cloning the parents and the unborn baby are essential but what about any siblings, the doctor performing the procedure or the baby's grandparents for example?

 Organising group talk

What's your opinion?

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