TOO CLEVER TOO FAST TOO HAPPY
TO THE TEACHER
SUGGESTED TIME: THREE BLOCKS INCLUDING THE ESSAY TASK
PREREADING: Write the title on the board and discuss it making sure to remind them that too is not a synonym for very. Don’t give any hint of what the text is about but let them voice their opinions.
NOW, distribute the text and read the subtitle with them. They will now have a better idea of what the text is all about. The writer states his opinion in very strong language here. Ask the students whether they agree. Again let them voice their initial opinions which they may later revise as they become better informed.
THEN, ask them to read the first four paragraphs of the text and discuss the race with them. Now ask them to answer questions one and two.
1. I had a clearer sense of myself, of my power, of my frailty. A marathon peels you down to your core.
2. To introduce the issue of genetic engineering. No, the dramatic impact is greater this way. Now ask them to read from paragraph five to the end of paragraph eight and discuss. Make sure to discuss paragraph seven and provide opposition. The students can now answer three more questions
3. Attempts to alter the human body are nothing new in sport
4. Both athlete and fan remain able to draw the line
5. Possible answer: you win the race because of your gene pack. There is none of the feeling described in the first three paragraphs. Now stop and ask the students which race they would rather be in; the one at the beginning of the text or this one? Now ask them to read on until the end of paragraph sixteen and answer the next question.
6. Somatic gene therapy/ a patient with a serious disease/ to cure him/ to deliver new modified genes to some cells/ put genes aboard viruses and inject into the patient. Germline gene therapy/ any normal individual/ to enhance, to improve/ p. 13 they would tease apart….WARNING: In question six the section on somatic gene therapy is pretty straight forward. However, they will have to read closely and draw conclusions from what they read to fill out the information on germline gene therapy. Before you go any further, it would be a good idea to stop for a discussion of their initial opinions. Pauses of this kind will break the monotony as well as keeping students focused and interested. They can also answer question seven:
7. Humans/ man. Now ask them to continue reading until the end of paragraph twenty three and answer questions eight and nine.
8. To have a sequence of DNA, the programming code of life and to…..
9 .The genes were sequenced but not understood, practical complications, physics would place limits on how much you could modify humans. An alternative answer would be: researchers managed to identify only 30.000 genes. At this point stop for a discussion. Focus on the end of paragraph 23 and provide opposition. Now ask them to read two more paragraphs or you read them out loud for a change. Ask them to voice their opinions. Play the devil’s advocate! Now have them read paragraphs 26, 27 and 28 and answer two more questions
10.We get ever better at the mechanics of handling embryos (best) Or: the example. Or,
The technology is not so different from invitro fertilization which has become very easy
11. Human cloning; It is too easy. Now have them read on until the end of paragraph 33. And answer three more questions.
12. Open ended; it was: there are three parents; it wasn’t. It isn’t the process described earlier.
13 .An artificial chromosome
14. A summary; a bridge paragraph. Now ask them to read on until the end of 37.They can answer two more questions as soon as they finish.
15. Our bodies are essentially plastic; our bodies are on the verge of becoming true clay.
16. Open ended.
17. Read paragraphs 38 and 39 with them and discuss them. Would they be in favour of
modifying the happiness gene? What would they have done if they were Syd and
Kyla? Remember discussion keeps everyone on board and focused! Ask them to look
at question 18
18. A summary; it is a long text. They can now read on until the end of paragraph 43. and
do two more questions
19. Deciding not to soup up your kid.
20. Encourage the students to look up at you and address you directly. Encourage them to
use their own words. Now ask the students to complete the text or better still you read
it as the end is very dramatic
21. P. 44
22. There will be two classes the gene rich and the Naturals. The former will control all aspects of economy, media entertainment while the latter will be low paid service providers
23. The programming may not work well (p.47); there may be unanticipated side effects (p.48)
24. Suppose… to the end (p.52) Students could also answer in their own words.
Now that the reading task, including the discussions you have been having throughout, is complete, it is time for the students to express their opinions individually and prove to you that they have an in depth understanding of the text. There is only one way this can be done: an essay. It is suggested that they write an argumentative essay on the following topic:
Germ line genetic engineering should never be allowed.
The next thing they need to do is make a list of the arguments for and against in the text. These arguments are as follows:
FOR (paragraphs 43-52)
- Your child might become like a nearly useless copy of windows 95 (p. 43)
- The rich would benefit from genetic engineering far more than the poor (p. 44)
- The above situation would result in a new class structure with unsavory connotations(p.45-46)
- Unanticipated or long term side effects may be witnessed( p. 47-48)
- The meaning of being human will have changed forever( p. 49-52)
AGAINST (paragraphs 34-42)
-Predispositions towards various conditions can be eliminated (p.34)
-Our bodies are basically plastic or clay and there is nothing beyond tinkering
(p.35, 36, 37)
-Personality can be altered in a positive way; the happiness gene for example (p.38-39)
-Enhancing humans would help society as a whole (p. 42)
When they have noted down these arguments it might be a good idea to see if they have anything to add to them. The text has everything pretty much covered but you never know. Remind them of the organization of an argumentative essay and let them get cracking. It is suggested that you don’t time them too strictly; especially if the text has gone well. Let them enjoy it.