FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Activity Map: Ethics and the Human Body

Overview

What's the Focus

As we help students learn about and explore the science of the human body, we hope they will see God’s remarkable handiwork and develop an understanding of their responsibility in return. The activities in this activity map could be used in a high school science class on anatomy and physiology, or in a Bible class considering the Bible’s perspective on our bodies.

Ideally it could be used in collaboration across the two, with the goal of helping students understand how faith relates to scientific questions about the body. The activities invite reflection on this relationship and focus on placing the human body in a larger ethical and spiritual context. They invite students to engage with a variety of ethical issues related to the body and to consider how they relate to faith. They also point beyond reflection to response. The ways in which we engage the study of anatomy and physiology should help shape students’ practice in light of faithful ethical considerations.

It is not necessary to use every activity in your class, or to use them at the same point in the year. This activity map offers a range of possibilities to enrich your existing teaching resources. While some of the activities form a possible sequence, you can select the ones most suitable for your context and adapt them to connect to your own plan for learning.

Discover activities offer brief ways into the topic and are designed to set the stage and get students thinking.

Delve activities promote more extended learning. This is where the main substance of the lesson unfolds.

Debrief activities bring the sequence of the study to a thoughtful close by helping students reflect on how they have been invited to see science and faith anew.

You can mix and match these activities as you wish. It is not intended that all these activities should be used with the same class.

Quick Stop Lesson Plan

The best way to use this activity map is to explore all of the activities and see which ones fit in your particular teaching context. If you just need a quick way to explore the themes of the map, you can use the links below to preview and download a sampler of three activities selected from this activity map.

PreviewDownload Files

Discover Activities

Discover activities offer brief ways into the topic and are designed to set the stage and get students thinking.

  • Activity

    10 min

    What Can We Learn About Bodies?

  • Activity

    20 min

    The Bible and Bodies

  • Activity

    20 min

    Bodies and Callings

  • Activity

    20 min

    Empathy and Care for Bodies

What Can We Learn About Bodies?

In Brief

This activity engages students in generating examples of how the study of the human body relates to ethics, faith, and science. The activity helps students see that there are multiple ways to learn about the body and that investigation of its physical properties is related to science, ethics, and faith.

Goals

Students will understand that perspectives from science, ethics, and faith are all relevant to thinking about the human body and that it may be necessary to draw on multiple perspectives.

Thinking Ahead

Teaching FASTly involves making connections, and the activities in this activity map focus on connections between science, faith, and ethics. Since students are going to generate examples of how science, faith, and ethics are related to the human body, think of some examples that you, or better yet, your students might, be personally aware of in which the human body relates to these topics. Several are provided in the example, but ones that are personally relevant to you and your specific students are even better.

Related Book Review: The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution by C.P. Snow.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

Begin the activity by asking students what they expect they will study in this class. The purpose of this is to surface their assumptions. If you are using this activity in a science class focused on anatomy, students may expect to learn only about material aspects of the body; if this is a Bible class, they may expect only theological topics. The activities in this activity map ask them to reflect across those boundaries and change their default perspectives. Record results on the board as students provide examples.

Divide students into small groups of 3-5 students and distribute copies of the What Can We Learn About Bodies handout. Display the first slide from What Can We Learn About Bodies and explain to students that they are going to think about how faith, science, and ethics are involved in thinking about the body. Then display the questions on the second slide and ask students to write them on the diagram in the place where they seem to fit best. For example, do they primarily involve faith and ethics, or science and faith? There is no single correct answer since these are broad questions. For your reference, a possible result is included in What Can We Learn About Bodies – Completed.

Next, ask students to brainstorm further ideas related to the handout they received – challenge each group to add at least five more questions to the diagram. Ask groups to share some of their examples with the class. Discuss whether there are questions that do not fit cleanly into one category but involve drawing on more than just faith, science, or ethic alone.

The Bible and Bodies

In Brief

The goal of this activity is to have students read and respond to a variety of Bible passages that talk about our physical bodies, understanding that they challenge a stark soul versus body divide. The activity aims to help students see that faith is not just about inner or “spiritual” realities, but has implications for our physical lives.

Goals

Students will understand that the Bible’s view of the body is more holistic than a dichotomy between the spiritual and the material.

Students will engage in the practice of interpreting Scripture with others.

Thinking Ahead

This activity challenges the assumption that faith is about things that are inward, invisible, or “spiritual,” relegating our physical selves to the realm of scientific study only. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 the Apostle Paul challenges the idea of splitting a person into an important soul and a less important body. Instead, the Bible views us as whole beings, created by God with the purpose of honoring him with our whole being. See also the Activity Map on Resurrection.

It is easy to read cultural divisions between the “spiritual” and the “material” back into the Bible, and students may come with assumptions about the degree to which faith is relevant to learning about the body. This activity invites students to see the body differently. It provides time to investigate and discuss how the Bible speaks about bodies and engages students in interpreting the Bible together with others. Teaching FASTly does not mean turning away from the material to the spiritual, but seeing how our bodily lives are rooted in faith.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

If possible, arrange your classroom seating into groups of four before students arrive. Divide students into groups of four for a think-pair-share activity and distribute The Bible and Bodies so that each group has a different passage. Allow students to read the verse and the additional prompt, and make notes individually in silence for two minutes.

Next ask each student to compare notes with a partner within the group. Have partners share their responses with each other for two minutes. Each student should add notes from this conversation in the space for “partner group reactions.”

Then have the partner groups share with each other in the group of four. Each student should add notes from this conversation in the space for “group reactions.” These three note-taking steps will allow students to see clearly what they have gained from listening to others within the group and engage them directly in the important practice of reading and interpreting together with others, rather than just individually.

Finally, have each group of four present their reactions to the class. Project each passage and prompt, included in The Bible and Bodies, on the screen for the whole class to see. Read the passage and prompt aloud for the class and let each group present the reactions and thoughts their group generated.

The passages discussed are listed below, with brief talking points for each:

Genesis 1:27-28 (NET): 

27God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!”

 Many current theological accounts relate the image of God to the theme of ruling in the next verse. The word for “image” involved physical representation. Imaging God includes responsible action as God’s representative on earth.

1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 19-20 (NET):

13The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14Now God indeed raised the Lord and he will raise us by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? … 19Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.

The context here shows Paul resisting the prevalent view of his day that thought that since the spirit is more important than the body, it does not matter if we sin with our bodies. Paul focuses on the importance of the body. God will raise the body (see also the Activity Map on Resurrection) and collectively our bodily lives make up the church, which is his temple.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NET):

13Certainly you made my mind and heart;
you wove me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing.
You knew me thoroughly…

This passage presents God as intimately involved in the putting together of our bodies. Rather than causing us to turn away from our bodies to worship, we express thanks for our bodies.

Matthew 18:7-9 (NET):

Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come. If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.

Jesus is using hyperbole here. Have students note how important it is to compare passages. Psalm 139 that we just read valued the body highly. This passage can also be seen to value the body in the sense that it matters greatly what we do with our bodies, for they are meant to be used for holiness.

Romans 12:1-2 (NET):

1Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

Service and sacrifice involve what we do with our bodily life, not just on the spirit.

1 Corinthians 10:24-31 (NET): 

24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,” do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience—29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? 31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

This passage continues the theme that bodily activities as basic as eating are related to love of God and neighbor. It is in our bodily actions that we show whatever kind of love the situation requires: eating when that honors the other, and not eating when eating would injure the other’s conscience.

1 Corinthians 15:52-55 (NET):

52 For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.54 Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen,“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 WhereO deathis your victory? WhereO deathis your sting?

Paul here expresses the hope for a bodily resurrection, not a soul saved out from within a body container and the body discarded, but a renewal of the body as the mortal “puts on” immortality like new clothes. See also the Activity Map on Resurrection.

In conclusion, reflect  briefly with students on how the physical layout of the classroom enabled interaction, studying Scripture together, and listening to one another. This connects with the theme that what we do with our bodies matters for love of God and neighbor. If you have time, extend this activity by having groups choose one of the passages and read its larger context in the chapter(s) from which it is taken to see if this adds to their interpretation. If you do not have time to do this, mention that this would be an important next step to be sure we understand each passage well.

Bodies and Callings

In Brief

Micah 6:8 offers a concise and powerful statement of the human calling before God: “What does the Lord require? Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God” (emphasis added). This activity asks students to think about how knowing more about anatomy and physiology relates to this calling. It helps students to see that faith, ethics, and science are interrelated.

Goals

Students will understand that the important biblical themes of love, humility, and justice are related to the scientific purposes of understanding of the human body.

Thinking Ahead

The fragmentation and specialization of modern society can make it tempting to think that practical questions about bodily care are mainly in the realm of science and economics and distant from faith and ethics.

This activity engages students in making connections between a biblical summary of what God requires, the virtues that are called for in that summary, and a set of practical problems. The aim is not just to tell students that faith, science, and ethics are connected, but to engage them in active exploration that enables them to see the connections themselves.

How often are students given such an opportunity in school? Consider how you talk about scientific information throughout the year. How often do you pause to make a connection with faith or ethics? Do your teaching practices simply teach that these things are isolated from one another?

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

  • For each group of students a set of sort cards including blanks, see Bodies and Callings

  • Large piece of poster paper

  • Markers or pens

  • Glue or tape

Teaching the Activity

Divide students into small groups and give each group a set of scenario cards along with “Do Justice,” “Love Mercy,” and “Walk Humbly” cards. See Bodies and Callings. Each group also needs a large sheet of paper.

Have each group lay out the “Do Justice,” “Love Mercy,” and “Walk Humbly” cards on their poster paper in a triangle. Then have them take one of the scenario cards, read it, and match it with one of the three categories. Scenario cards may seem to match more than one statement, so students can place the scenario cards in a location that indicates they may be part of more than one of those callings. Students should use the three blank cards to add further examples of their own that draw on scientific understanding of the body.

When students have finished arranging their cards have them paste or tape down the cards in the arrangement they created. Next ask students to make a note next to each card of how knowing more about the science of the human body would help them do those tasks better.

If time allows, have students present parts of their poster to the rest of the class. Display the posters in your room throughout the course of the semester or year and continue to refer to them and add to them as you talk about various body systems and the ethical issues that relate to those various systems.

Empathy and Care for Bodies

In Brief

This activity engages students in reflection on the roles of scientific knowledge, ethical reflection, and empathy in decision making when our decisions affect the bodily well-being of others. It invites them to see how these considerations are intertwined.

Goals

Students will understand that knowledge about the human body belongs together with ethics and empathy in decision making that affects the bodily well-being of others.

Thinking Ahead

This activity can serve as an introduction to Activity 5: Evaluating Ethical Issues. It is intended as a brief introductory activity leading to the more concrete models in the Delve activities. The focus should be on helping students think about how science, ethics, and faith can all play a role in decision-making about the body.

Data without ethical stances or beliefs about what is good, do not tell us what to do. Nutritional information, for instance, does not in itself tell us that we should care for others. The desire to love one’s neighbor could, if unaccompanied by good information, result in actions that are in fact harmful. Spend some time reflecting on this intersection ahead of the discussion. Consider how the relationship between scientific knowledge, ethical questions, and faith convictions are represented in your regular teaching practices. Teaching FASTly includes reflecting on what is involved in our practices.

Related Book Review: After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

  • You will need Ethics and Empathy with access to the internet in order to play the linked video.

  • Students should have notebooks or journals to note their reflections.

Teaching the Activity

Explain to students that today they will be thinking about empathy in relation to ethical decisions as they relate to the body. What kind of person does it take to make wise ethical decisions? What kind of person am I naturally? How can I learn empathy?

Divide students into small groups of approximately four members. Show the second slide of Ethics and Empathy, which depicts a panel discussion. Ask students to imagine a panel made up of a wide range of health care providers, community members, government officials, educators, and social service providers. They are having a discussion related to hunger and trying to decide on the make-up and quantity of the food that will constitute school meals provided for free or at a reduced rate.

Ask students to discuss in their small groups the kinds of knowledge and character qualities that might help the people in this group as they make their decision. After a few minutes, invite groups to share their thoughts. Elicit what kinds of scientific knowledge might help as well as the role of empathy and care and a sense of justice. Ask what might happen if only the scientific understanding or only the ethical stance were present?

Then ask students to discuss briefly in their groups how they think the panel’s discussion might change if they all decided to fast for twenty-four hours prior to coming together to have the discussion?

Next, show the following video clip: Brené Brown on Empathy. After viewing the video ask the groups to summarize the distinction between empathy and sympathy and how it relates to their previous discussion about the panel. After time for discussion, check students’ understanding by projecting the next slide, Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” and Romans 12:4-5, “For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, 5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another.” Ask students to articulate how these passages connect to what the video explained about empathy.

Next, tell students that this can be extended to other examples. What if the topic under consideration were a new school building project. If someone who is on the design committee has a sibling or child with a physical disability, how might that affect the discussion of the design committee? Ask students in their groups to think of at least one further example of a community decision that involves the bodily well-being of some community members and that would need to draw upon expert knowledge, ethical reflection, and empathy. Allow time for examples to be shared with the class.

Additional Resource

Ed Stockham, Empathy Explorer: Through My Eyes

Delve Activities

Delve activities promote more extended learning. This is where the main substance of the lesson unfolds.

  • Activity

    60 min

    Evaluating Ethical Issues

  • Activity

    60 min

    Vaccinations

Evaluating Ethical Issues

In Brief

The Discover activities started students thinking about the role of science, faith, and ethics in relation to the human body. This activity engages students in working with a simple model to help them think about how faith and science can inform ethical issues affecting the body. It focuses on cardiovascular disease.

Goals

Students will understand that arriving at an informed position on ethical issues concerning the body involves drawing from multiple sources and perspectives, both scientific and non-scientific.

Students will understand that love of neighbor is related to our deliberation about what to do in light of scientific understanding of the human body.

Students will practice using a simple framework as a model for approaching complex ethical issues relating to the body.

Students will learn about ethical issues connected to the cardiovascular system.

Thinking Ahead

This lesson could fit after Activity 4: Empathy and Care for Bodies and serve as the first ethical issue that students are presented with over the course of the semester. It could be used in conjunction with study of the cardiovascular system. It introduces a simple model for approaching ethical issues relating to the human body. Because it is a simple model, it cannot capture the full complexity of such issues. It focuses attention on points of reference to be considered. It does not include every aspect of decision making, and students will still need to learn about how to construct and critique arguments of various kinds that can be mounted from these sources.

The model’s simplicity, however, makes it a practical and accessible starting point for thinking about where faith and science fit into deliberation and offers a tool that is easy to remember. Even though it is simple, its structure encourages students to move beyond thinking that ethical issues can be adequately approached only in terms of how they affect me or only in terms of appeal to authority, using scientific knowledge.

The model encourages students to see the necessity of consulting their own needs, those of their neighbor, and relevant sources of knowledge and guidance in science, theology, and ethics before constructing a position. It models a practice of deliberation that does not revolve around the self. Examining our motivations as well as how we find truth, is part of Teaching FASTly. Consider adopting this model and reinforcing it through repeated use with other topics, such as infertility treatment, end of life issues, genetics testing, or cosmetic surgery.

Related Book Review: Science & Theology: An Introduction by John Polkinghorne.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

Tell students that they are going to think about how to take a position on an ethical question involving the human body, using a simple framework to help them begin to consider factors beyond their own opinions. Project the Evaluating Ethical Issues slide from Evaluating Ethical Issues. Explain that the three corners of the triangle represent different considerations that go into our decision-making on ethical issues:

  • Me: How will this affect me? This is the first thing that we may naturally think about, and our own voice on a topic may be important, especially if we are one of those most affected.
  • Community: How will this decision affect others? We are called by God to not only think of ourselves, but to also think about our neighbors. This corner is about considering how an issue affects others. Remind students of their discussion of empathy in Activity 4: Empathy and Care for Bodies.
  • Knowledge: What do relevant sources of knowledge and guidance have to say on this issue? What is the current scientific understanding of the issue? And how does a commitment to Christian faith frame this issue in terms of theological considerations?

It may help students to see the applicability of the model if you talk through a relatively simple example with them, such as should peanut butter be part of school lunches? Discuss briefly how it might affect decision-making if one of the three corners were ignored. For example, trying to be loving while remaining ignorant of how certain things can lead to harm; scientific information without a reason to do good to others does not tell us what to do with that information; reasoning only from our own experience is limiting, but not listening to individuals can rob us of needed input too.

In the remainder of this activity students will practice using this framework to think about an ethical issue keeping those components in mind. The example focuses on cardiovascular disease prevention. This is a serious issue, but also one less likely to produce immediate strong reactions, thereby allowing space for reflection.

Distribute Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Instruct students to read the article and write answers to the questions that follow. To answer some of the questions fully, students will need to carry out further research online, and you may wish to make this part of the activity a homework task.

After students finish reading and responding, arrange them in small groups and have them discuss their answers with their group members. Remind them to listen carefully to others’ conclusions. Following the small group sharing, discuss the questions together as a larger group. During the discussion elicit responses from various groups by having them share parts of their group’s discussion.

Once discussion is complete, ask each student to write a short essay, taking a position on the questions raised and explaining how that position was informed by the three points of the triangle. Use this assignment to assess individual understanding of the framework and of the relevant science. If you wish, you could ask students to make their notes from the reflection questions the basis of an essay.

Vaccinations

In Brief

The Discover activities started students thinking about the role of science, faith, and ethics in relation to the human body. This activity engages students in working with a simple model to help them think about how faith and science can inform ethical issues affecting the body. It focuses on vaccines.

Goals

Students will understand that arriving at an informed position on ethical issues concerning the body involves drawing from multiple sources and perspectives, scientific and non-scientific.

Students will understand that love of neighbor is related to our deliberation about what to do in light of scientific understanding of the human body.

Students will practice using a simple framework as a model for approaching complex ethical issues relating to the body.

Students will learn about ethical issues connected to the immune system.

Thinking Ahead

This activity could be used in conjunction with study of the immune system. Students will be looking at the issue of vaccinations using the me, community, knowledge approach discussed in Activity 5: Evaluating Ethical Issues. This is a simple model for approaching ethical issues relating to the human body. Because it is a simple model, it cannot capture the full complexity of such issues. It focuses attention on points of reference to be considered. It does not include every aspect of decision making, and students will still need to learn about how to construct and critique arguments of various kinds that can be mounted from these sources.

The model’s simplicity, however, makes it a practical and accessible starting point for thinking about where faith and science fit into deliberation, and it offers a tool that is easy to remember. Even though it is simple, its structure encourages students to move beyond thinking that ethical issues can be adequately approached only in terms of how they affect me or only in terms of appeal to authority, using scientific knowledge. The model encourages students to see the necessity of consulting their own needs, those of their neighbor, and relevant sources of knowledge and guidance in science, theology, and ethics before constructing a position. It models a practice of deliberation that does not revolve around the self.

Examining our motivations as well as how we find truth is part of Teaching FASTly. Consider adopting this model and reinforcing it through repeated use with other topics, such as infertility treatment, end of life issues, genetics testing, or cosmetic surgery. Before teaching this activity, ask at your school what the school policy is for student vaccination, learn what your state policy is, and see what particular views might be found in your local community.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

Tell students they are going to think about how to take a position on an ethical question involving the human body using a simple framework to help them begin to consider factors beyond their own opinions. If you used Activity 5: Evaluating Ethical Issues, students will be familiar with the basic framework and you can refer back to it.

Begin by projecting the slides in Vaccination Quotes. These contain quotations from Christians offering conflicting perspectives on vaccines. As students read the slides, ask them to discuss with a neighbor how the person quoted is arguing and what sources they are using. Are they appealing primarily to their own needs (Me), to the needs of others (Neighbor), or to other sources of authoritative information (Knowledge: science, theology)?

Next tell students that they are going to look at some of the arguments in more detail; it is risky to think we understand someone’s stance from a brief quotation. Distribute Beliefs about Vaccination and explain to students that they will read several articles regarding a Christian approach to vaccines, and will further analyze these articles in light of the components discussed in Activity 5: Evaluating Ethical Issues:

  • Me: How will this affect me? What will it require of me? What are my biases?
  • Neighbor: How will this affect others? How is loving my neighbor involved?
  • Knowledge: What do significant sources of relevant knowledge, including science and theology, have to say on this issue?

Students should be given time to read the articles and respond to the questions on pages 1-3 of Beliefs about Vaccination, excluding the reflection questions on the final page. When this is complete, group students into small groups to discuss their answers. Ask them to consider how much diversity there is in their group’s answers and to listen especially for points they may have missed but were noted by others.

After this discussion, students can now individually answer the reflection questions on the last page of the handout. Finally, lead a whole class discussion using the same reflection questions. Focus on individuals sharing the factors they identified in each category, and avoid forcing individuals to share their personal position in the larger group.

1Used with permission from the National Vaccine Information Center

Debrief Activities

Debrief activities bring the sequence of the study to a thoughtful close by helping students reflect on how they have been invited to see science and faith anew.

  • Activity

    35 min

    Micah 6:8 Revisited

  • Activity

    This activity occurs over multiple class periods

    Ethical Issues Investigation

Micah 6:8 Revisited

In Brief

This activity is a follow-up to Activity 3: Bodies and Callings. It asks students to reflect back on their earlier ideas and to write an essay connecting Micah 6:8 with the nature and needs of the body.

Goals

Students will review what they have learned and connect it back to Micah 6:8.

Students will show understanding of how faith, science, and listening to others can be connected when addressing a specific issue related to the body.

Thinking Ahead

The fragmentation and specialization of modern society can make it tempting to see practical questions about bodily care mainly in the realm of science and economics and distant from faith and ethics. Keeping these realms separate is not teaching FASTly. This activity engages students once more in making the connections between a biblical summary of what God requires, the virtues that are called for in that summary, and a set of practical problems. It would be helpful if you could model a good response by articulating for students an example of an issue related to the body that you see as important and that engages you in careful learning from, and thinking about, science, theology, and the needs of others.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

This activity can be used late in a semester or year after study of anatomy and physiology. Tell students they are going to review what they have learned about the body and about both the human and the knowledge for thinking about the body. Have students review the poster or banner, or look at photos taken of the brainstorming board that they created earlier in the year by taking a few minutes to read over the ideas they listed then. See Activity 3: Bodies and Callings.

Project the text of Micah 6:8 and read it aloud together. Then project the following slide, which associates the elements of Micah 6:8 with the body.

Divide students into groups of three or four. Ask them to brainstorm additional ideas of how they could “do justice,” “’love mercy,” and “walk humbly” in relation to the human body and the issues learned about in anatomy and physiology. Ask them to focus on ideas that they did not think of when they created their poster or banner.

Finally, ask each student to choose one idea and write a short essay addressing the following:

  • How does this idea show a connection between Micah 6:8 and the nature and needs of the body?
  • How would reflecting on my own needs, the needs of others, and the findings of science and theology help me to think about this issue well? See the “me, community, knowledge” approach discussed in Activity 3: Bodies and Callings. What would I need to find out?
  • How could I personally respond to Micah 6:8 in connection with this issue? What would I need to learn?

Encourage students to be as concrete and specific as possible.

Ethical Issues Investigation

In Brief

This activity involves a cumulative or final project that allows students to use what they have been learning to investigate an ethical issue of their own choice related to the science of the human body. It can allow you to assess both science learning and how students now see the relationship of science to ethical questions.

Goals

Students will apply what they have been learning to investigating an ethical issue of their choice.

Students will show that they can integrate scientific learning and ethical reflection.

Thinking Ahead

This activity could be used as a culminating project at the end of a course on anatomy and physiology. You can tweak the size of the project by changing the number of source articles that students are required to use. You could also turn this activity into a cumulative project throughout the semester by asking students at intervals to complete the first page of Tackling Topics in Ethics, one article at a time, and then have them complete the second page once a number of articles have been examined.

The framework used is intended to encourage students to move beyond thinking that ethical issues can be adequately approached only in terms of how they affect me, or only in terms of appealing to authority using scientific knowledge. The model  encourages students to see the necessity of consulting their own needs, those of their neighbor, and relevant sources of knowledge and guidance in science, theology, and ethics before constructing a position. It models a practice of deliberation that does not revolve around the self.

Related Book Review: The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution by C.P. Snow.

Preparing the Activity

Needed:

Teaching the Activity

Tell students they will use the framework from previous activities to investigate a further issue of their own choice. It would be helpful to conduct a brief class discussion to brainstorm possible issues related to the human body, such as infertility treatment, end of life issues, genetics testing, or cosmetic surgery. You may also wish to suggest some good online sources of articles on these topics, and/or provide instruction on efficient searching. Discuss with students the difference between a more substantive article and a brief opinion piece and instruct them to search for the former.

Give students copies of Tackling Topics in Ethics and ask them to complete it in preparation for working on an essay. The first page asks them to find two articles on the topic and examine their argument using a series of questions. The second page asks them to reflect on their own view as informed by the model introduced in Activity 5: Evaluating Ethical Issues, and by what they learned from their reading. It also asks them to engage in discussion with family members to help them think about other perspectives and to place ethical reflection in the context of their relationships.

Once these steps are completed, you may wish to provide time for further input by having students discuss what they have found with a partner. Finally, ask students to write an essay about the issue they have investigated. Let them know that you will be looking for evidence that they have thought through the model they have been using (me, neighbor, knowledge) and they have made accurate and appropriate use of scientific information as well as ethical/theological considerations. You can use this essay to asses both their handling of scientific sources and their reflective use of the model.