This lesson is designed to introduce the theme of the short story "Flowers for Algernon."
1. The teacher should put the paper titled "If I Could Change, Would I?" (attached) on the document camera to show the students.
2. Each student should write his/her personal answers to the questions posed. After allowing students to think individually, the teacher should encourage them to share the answers they feel comfortable sharing, with at least one other student sittling nearby.
3. Next, the teacher should explain that the short story the students are going to begin reading the next day in class is about a mentally retarded man who was given the chance to change himself via a medical experiment.
4. The teacher should click on this link to go to a website that lists the Themes present in the short story. Then, she/he should explain to the students that today they will focus on the last theme listed on the webpage: Biotechnology. Specifically, the the moral debate created as a result of biotechnology.
5. The teacher should show the PowerPoint. The first exercise in the PowerPoint is the Life Boat Theory.
6. Allow students to work in groups to discuss and decide who they will save and who they will throw overboard.
7. After an appropriate amount of time, ask each group to share who they threw out of the life boat. Explain that they just made some decisions based on quality of life and selective reduction, which is the theme of the story we are going to read.
8. Continue through the PowerPoint (attached). Have students stop periodically (after slide 9, slide 14, slide 21, slide 27, slide 29, and slide 35) and respond to what they are seeing and learning.
9. The students can either "turn and talk" to their neighbor or they can complete "Think Boxes" (attached). Either way is fine, as long as the students reapond to the emotionally charged information in chunks.
10. After seeing the complete PowerPoint and responding to the content, the students should complete the "What about My School" handout. (attached)
Optional: If you'd like to end on a funny note, a little comic relief in the midst of such a serious subject, show the "Girrrrl, I didn't even recognize you" paper (attached)