Contemporary Issues in Biology: A Module for Teacher Training is a training module for teachers who will be teaching general biology. It is appropriate as a 3-hour college lab science course or as a 90-hour professional development workshop. The course is divided into four sections with a test for each. This can vary depending on the format of the professional development, the needs of the teachers, and the wishes of the professional development provider. The exams are not provided because of the public nature of websites.

The following is a syllabus for a 3-week summer workshop. Each day of the training module contains two lessons, a web-based investigation, and a wet-lab. Topic Update Articles and Lesson presentations were updated in 2009.

To view each Lesson, Topic Update Article, Lab, or Activity, you must download it to your computer.

All Lessons are available for download from this page as Powerpoint presentations. Topic Update Articles can be obtained using the(live link). Other resources are provided in presentation speaker notes.. All Labs and Activities are available for download as Microsoft Word documents. Click on the live links below (green text) to download the appropriate Lessons, Activities or Labs to your computer.

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Section I- Additional Articles and Lessons Update- 2009

Day 1

Introduction by the Professional Development Provider

Lesson 1: Introduction
No reading

Activity 1: The Web as a Scientific Resource
Popular Press Reading: "The Web Docs." Christine Gorman. Time, April 3, 2000.
Popular Press Reading: "Hunting for Health." Katherine Hobson. U.S. News & World Report, November 17, 2003.
Popular Press Reading: "Don’t Get Buried." Avery Comarow. U.S. News & World Report, November 8, 2004.

Additional Resource: "Finding Trustworthy Medical Advice Online"- video and text November 2008 live link

Lab 1: Scientific Equipment
No reading


Day 2

Lesson 2: Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Popular Press Reading: "The End Of The Age of Estrogen." Geoffrey Cowley and Karen Springer.
Newsweek, July 22, 2002.

Topic Update Articles: Women’s Health (2008) "Hormone therapy: Is it right for you?" Retrieved January 2009 from Mayo Clinic live link
"Menopause: Beyond Hot Flashes" Christine Gorman. Time, October 02, 2005. live link
"A Boost for Hormone Therapy" Christine Gorman. Time, June 20, 2007. live link

Activity 2: Breast Cancer
Popular Press Reading: "Rethinking Breast Cancer." Christine Gorman. Time, February 18, 2002.

Topic Update Articles: "Do Breast Self-Exams Work?" Christine Gorman. Time, October 14, 2002. live link
"Why Breast Cancer Is Spreading Around the World.” Kathleen Kingsbury. Time, October 7, 2007. live link

Lab 2: Cell Division
No reading

Lesson 3: Prostate Cancer
Popular Press Reading: "Prostate Dilemmas." Susan Brink, Josh Fischman.
U.S. News & World Report, May 22, 2000.

Topic Update Articles: “Prostate Cancer: Cut or Wait?” Christine Gorman, Time, September 23, 2002 live link
“What’s a Guy to Do? Reaction to Time Article by Christine Gorman, September 23, 2002”. Darracott Vaughn. Urological Sciences Research Foundation. live link

“Genes Increase Prostate Cancer Risk” Krista Mahr, Time, January 16, 2008 live link


Day 3

Lesson 4: Human Development and Stem Cells
Popular Press Reading: "Tweaking Nature’s Repair Kit." Joannie Schrof Fischer.
U.S. News & World Report, June 12, 2000.

Topic Update Articles: “Stem Cells: The Hope and The Hype.” Nancy Gibbs. Time, June 30, 2006. live link
“Why the Stem Cell Advance May Not Be a Breakthrough.” Alice Park. Time, August 24, 2006. live link
“Scientists Reach Stem Cell Milestone.” Alice Park. Time, July 31, 2008. live link
Adult Stem Cells, National Institutes of Health web site live link


Activity 3: Human Reproduction & Teratogens
Popular Press Reading: "Cycle of Shame." Jeff Glasser.
U.S. News & World Report, May 20, 2002.

Topic Update Article: “What Alcohol Does to a Child.” Christine Gorman. Time, May 28, 2006. live link

Lab 3: Karyotyping
No reading

Lesson 5: DNA and the Human Genome Project
Popular Press Reading: We’ve Only Just Begun. Joannie Schrof Fisher.
U.S. News & World Report, July 3, 2000.

Topic Update Articles: “The Race is Over.” Dick Thompson, Frederick Golden and Michael D. Lemonick. Time,  July 3, 2000. live link
“The Secret of Life.” Nancy Gibbs. Time, February 17, 2003.  live link


Day 4

Lesson 6: Individuality and Cloning
Popular Press Reading #1: "Dolly’s False Legacy." Ian Wilmut. Time, January 11, 1999.
Popular Press Reading #2: "Send In The Clones?" Editors. U.S. News & World Report, August 20, 2001.

Topic Update Article: “Scientists Clone Human Embryos.” Michael D. Lemonick. Time, January 17, 2008. live link

Activity 4: DNA Fingerprinting
Popular Press Reading: "DNA Detectives." Jeffrey Kluger. Time, January 11, 1999.

Lab 4: DNA Isolation
No reading

Lesson 7: Genetic Disorders & Gene Therapy
Popular Press Reading: "Good Eggs, Bad Eggs." Frederic Golden. Time, January 11, 1999.

Topic Update Article: “Monkey Business.” Michael D. Lemonick. Time, January 22, 2001. live link


Day 5

Lesson: Assessment I (Lessons & labs)


Section II Additional Articles and Lessons Update- 2009

Activity 5: Ulcers & the Digestive System
Popular Press Reading: Prescriptions: "How Your Doctor Makes The Choice."
Joseph P. Shapiro and Stacey Schultz. U.S. News & World Report, February 19, 2001.

Lab 5: Digestive Enzymes
No reading

Lesson 8: Eating Disorders & the Digestive System
Popular Press Reading: "The Hunger Artists." Emily Sohn. U.S. News & World Report, June 10, 2002.

Additional Resource: "The First National Survey on Eating Disorders" James Hudson, Harrison Pope, Cynthia Bulik. McLean Hospital Press Conference audio recording, January 31, 2007. live link
“Binge Eating More Common Than Other Eating Disorders, Survey Finds.” Science News, February 4, 2007. Retrieved February 2009 from live link


Day 6

Lesson 9: Alcohol’s Effects on the Heart and Liver
Popular Press Reading: "When Drinking Helps." Janet Raloff. Science News, March 8, 2003.

Topic Update Article: Food & Nutrition (2009) "Alcohol use: Why moderation is key?" Retrieved February 2009 from Mayo Clinic live link

Activity 6: Heart Attacks
Popular Press Reading: Heart Attack: "What To Expect." Harvard Health Letter, July 2002.

Lab 6: Respiration
No reading

Lesson 10: Circulatory System & Heart Disease
Popular Press Reading: "The No. 1 Killer Of Women." Christine Gorman. Time, April 28, 2003.

Topic Update Articles: “Trans Fats.” American Heart Association Learn and Live, Updated January 2009.
live link  
"Blowing A Gasket." Jeffrey Kluger and Missy Adams. Time, December 6, 2004. live link
"How New Heart-Scanning Technology Could Save Your Life." Christine Gorman and Alice Park. Time, April 28, 2005.  live link

September 2005 TIME Cover live link


Day 7
Lesson 11: Smoking, Emphysema and Lung Cancer
Popular Press Reading: "Let The Butt Stop Here." Harvard Health Letter, October, 2003.

Topic Update Article: “The Deadliest Cancer.” Geoffrey Cowley and Cladia Kalb, Newsweek. August 22, 2005. live link

Activity 7: Weight Control And Diet Drugs
Popular Press Reading: "Weight Gain And Loss." Harvard Health Letter, March 2001.

Lab 7: Smoking
No reading

Lesson 12: Diseases of the Endocrine System
Popular Press Reading: "The Silent Killer." Joannie Schrof. U.S. News &World Report, April 12, 1999.

Topic Update Articles: “Why So Many of Us Are Getting Diabetes." Christine Gorman. Time, December 8, 2003.live link
“Study Boosts Low-Glycemic Diet." Alice Parks. Time, December 16, 2008.live link


Day 8

Lesson 13: Kidneys and the Urinary System
Popular Press Reading: "Urinary Tract Infection." Mayo Clinic Health Letter, June 1999.

“Kidney Troubles: Black and White." David Bjerklie. Time, November 3, 2003. live link


Lesson: Assessment II (Lessons & labs)


Section III Additional Articles and Lessons Update- 2009

Activity 8: Drugs
Popular Press Reading: "Is Pot Good For You?" John Cloud. Time, November 4, 2002.

Lab 8: Dialysis
No reading

Lesson 14: Parasites and Disease
Popular Press Reading: "The season Of The tick: Lyme Disease Is Nothing To Fool With But Its Easy To Prevent." Sanjay Gupta. Time, July 12, 2004.

Day 9

Lesson 15: Immune System, Viruses and Bacteria
Popular Press Reading: "Anatomy Of An Outbreak." Jeffrey Kluger. Time, August 3, 1998.

Activity 9: Antibiotic Resistance
Popular Press Reading: "Battle Of The Bugs: Fighting Antibiotic Resistance." Linda Bren.
FDA Consumer, July–August 2002.

Lab 9: Antibiotic Resistance
No reading

Lesson 16: Vaccines and Infectious Disease Prevention
Popular Press Reading: "Can We Kiss The Polio Scourge Goodbye?" Leslie Roberts.
U.S. News & World Report, August 30, 1999.

Topic Update Article: "How Safe Are Vaccines." Alice Park. Time, May 29, 2008live link


Day 10

Lesson 17: HIV Infection and AIDS
Popular Press Reading: "Cruel Lessons From An Epidemic." Nell Boyce. U.S. News & World Report, June, 2001.

Activity 10: Emerging Diseases: Ebola
Popular Press Reading: "How Progress Makes Us Sick: Advances That Make Life More Comfortable Can Also Make It More Dangerous." Geoffrey Cowley. Newsweek, May 5, 2003.

Lesson 18: Nervous System and Drug Addiction
Popular Press Reading: "Addicted: Why Do People Get Hooked?" Madeleine Nash. Time, May 5, 1997.

Topic Update Article: "How We Get Addicted" Michael D. Lemonick. Time, July 5, 2007. live link


Day 11

Lesson 19: Skeletal-muscular System and Arthritis
Popular Press Reading: The Age Of Arthritis: We’re Headed For An Epidemic Of Joint Disease: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself." Christine Gorman and Alice Park. Time, December 9, 2002.

Activity 11: The Brain And Alzheimer's Disease
Popular Press Reading: "Memory Loss: When To Seek Help." MayoClinic.com.

Topic Update Article: “How to Live to be 100." Richard Corliss, Michael D. Lemonick, Alice Park, Melissa August, Anne Berryman, Hanna Kite, Chris Lambie, Jeff Israely, Francis X. Rocca. Time, August 30, 2004. live link

Lesson: Assessment III (Lessons & labs)

Section IV Additional Articles and Lessons Update- 2009

Day 12

Lesson 20: Origin & Evolution of Life
Popular Press Reading: "Twenty Questions: What Have The Courts Said About The Teaching Of Evolution And Creationism In Public Schools?" Randy Moore, Murray Jensen and Jay Hatch. BioScience, August 2003.

Topic Update Article: "The Evolution Wars" Claudia Wallis. Time, August 7, 2005. live link

Activity 12: Human Evolution
Popular Press Reading #1: "The ‘Gang’ Hits Again." Simon Nairobi. Time, April 2, 2001.
Popular Press Reading #2: "Ancestral Bushwhack: Hominid Tree Gets Trimmed Twice." B. Bower.
Science News, May 3, 2003.
Popular Press Reading #3: "Skull Details Suggest Neanderthals Were Not Humans," John Wilford.
Science, January 27, 2004.

Topic Update Article: "How We Became Human: What Makes Us Different?" Micheal D. Lemonick. Time, October 1, 2006. live link

Lab 12: Evolution
No reading

Lesson 21: Agricultural Systems and Transgenic Organisms
Popular Press Reading: "Cures on the Cob." Margot Roosevelt. Time, May 26, 2003.


Day 13

Lesson 22: Pesticides and Organic Farming
Popular Press Reading: "Certified Organic." Geoffrey Cowley. Newsweek, September 30, 2002.

Topic Update Article: "India’s Deadly Chemical Addiction." Madhur Singh. Time, June 10, 2008.  live link


Activity 13: Xeriscaping
Popular Press Reading: "The Great Xeriscape." Leora Broydo. Mother Jones. May/June 1997.

Lab 13: Photosynthesis No reading

Lesson 23: Water Cycle
Popular Press Reading: "Water Fights." Alex Markels. U.S. News & World Report, May 19, 2003.


Day 14

Lesson 24: Acid Rain and Fishless Lakes
Popular Press Reading: "Acid Rain: Forgotten, Not Gone." Leslie Roberts.
U.S. News & World Report, November 1, 1999.

Activity 14: Dangerous Plants and Animals
Popular Press Reading: "Poison Ivy." Margaret M. Cooley. New York State Conservationist, June 2000.

Lab 14: Water Treatment Plant No Reading

Topic Update Article: "Sewage That’s Clean Enough To Drink." Bryan Walsh. Time, December 16, 2008. live link


Lesson 25: Exotic Species and the Environment
Popular Press Reading: "A Long, Slow Autumn." Jessica Ruvinsky.
U.S. News & World Report, September 9, 2002.

Day 15

Lesson 26: Ozone Hole and Global Warming
Popular Press Reading: "Life In The Greenhouse." Michael Lemonick. Time, April 9, 2001.

Topic Update Article: "The Clean Energy Scam." Michael Grunwald. Time, March 27, 2008.. live link

Lesson 27: Nuclear Meltdown
Popular Press Reading: "When The World Stopped." Marianne Lavelle.
U.S. News & World Report, March 29, 1999.

Topic Update Article: Nuclear’s Comeback: Still No Energy Panacea.” Michael Grunwald. Time, December 31, 2008. live link

Final Exam: (Lessons & labs)