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Lesson 6: New Medicines
Lesson plan
After examining the sad case of Thalidomide, a drug used to prevent morning sickness, pupils go on to look at drug trialling and the pros and cons of testing on various animals. This one always causes a stir.
Please read the lesson plan below, then read the teachers’ notes, followed by the resources page. You can navigate between the 3 pages for each lesson using the links at the top right of this page
Biology Lesson 6: New Medicines
Curriculum Key: AQA core 11.3 OCRA B1 OCRB B1e Edexcel topic 4
1. Describe and explain the reasons for testing new drugs
2. Explain the dangers of using drugs that have not been thoroughly tested.
Resources needed
Teacher’s notes and student information sheets.
Card and laminator.
Data projector and laptop.
Starter: 5-10 minutes
Thalidomide task: Students read the interviews and in groups of 3 or 4 make a list of things that could have been done to prevent the effects. Be prepared to report back to the class.
Teacher input/assessment
Distribute sheets.
Organise role play if wished.
Main Activity 1: 5-10 minutes
Task 1 - Testing and using a new drug. In pairs, sort out the statements arranging them in chronological order.
Teacher input / assessment
Distribute laminated cards.
Main Activity 2: 5 minutes (optional)
Task 2: Numbers of animals used in animal testing. This is just to assess students’ awareness of the types of animals used. They have 5 minutes to ‘guess’ the order, then are given the answers.
Teacher input / assessment
Distribute sheets/display OHT, then give answers.
Main Activity 3: 5 minutes
Task 3: Does animal testing work? Students are required to draw a table with two columns, one with the heading ‘yes’, the other with ‘no’ then decide whether the statement suggests that animal testing does or doesn’t work.
Teacher input / assessment
Circulate and query students’ choices. Ask for their justification.
Main Activity 4: 25-30 minutes
Task 4: Animal testing - what are the alternatives? In small groups, students summarise some information then cascade to other groups.
Teacher input / assessment
Check each group’s summary. Move students on.
This needs close supervision.
Plenary: 5-10 minutes
Task 5 (a) or (b):
(a) Lower ability What makes a good new medicine? Students match the feature with the correct description.
(b) Is animal testing morally right?
Teacher input / assessment
Either could be done as a whole class activity by using an OHT.
Learning Outcomes:
All students must: Describe and explain the reasons for testing new drugs.
Most students should: Explain the dangers of using drugs that have not been thoroughly tested.
Some students could: Outline whether animal testing is morally right.
Key Skills: extracting, interpretation and display of information
Key words: animal testing, thalidomide
Homework: Find out what the term placebo means and why it is used.
More able: Should effectively teach other students in task 4 without intervention from the teacher.
Less able: Should be guided by other students or teacher intervention.
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