“The groundbreaking procedure offers hope to hundreds of thousands of other patients with failing organs.” R. C. Rabin, The New York Times, Jan 10, 2022
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: In Medical First, Man Receives a Genetically Modified Pig Heart, By Roni Caryn Rabin, January 10, 2022
“A 57-year-old man with life-threatening heart disease has received a heart from a genetically modified pig, a groundbreaking procedure that offers hope to hundreds of thousands of patients with failing organs…The eight-hour operation took place in Baltimore on Friday, and the patient, David Bennett Sr. of Maryland, was doing well on Monday, according to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
‘It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart,’ said Dr. Bartley Griffith, the director of the cardiac transplant program at the medical center, who performed the operation.’It’s working and it looks normal. We are thrilled, but we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us. This has never been done before.’
Scientists have worked feverishly to develop pigs whose organs would not be rejected by the human body, research accelerated in the past decade by new gene editing and cloning technologies. The heart transplant comes just months after surgeons in New York successfully attached the kidney of a genetically engineered pig to a brain-dead person. Researchers hope procedures like this will usher in a new era in medicine in the future when replacement organs are no longer in short supply for the more than half a million Americans who are waiting for kidneys and other organs.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- My dad’s prognosis early on was very, very, bad.
- A 57-year-old man with life-threatening heart disease has received a heart from a genetically modified pig.
- It is the first successful transplant of a pig’s heart into a human being.
- Surgeons in New York successfully attached the kidney of a genetically engineered pig to a brain-dead person.
- “This is a watershed event,” said Dr. David Klassen.
- But he added that there were many hurdles to overcome before such a procedure could be broadly applied.
- Mr. Bennett is being closely monitored for signs that his body is rejecting the new organ.
- Dr. Griffith said he first broached the experimental treatment in mid-December.
- Pigs offer advantages over primates for organ procurements, because they are easier to raise.
- When Mr. Bennett first told his son, David Bennett Jr., about the upcoming transplant, he was flummoxed.
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Mr. Bennett decided/decide too/to gamble on/in the experimental treatments/treatment because he wouldn’t/would have died/dead without/with a new heart, had exhausted other treatment/treatments and was too/to sick to qualify for a/an human donor heart, family members and doctors said.
Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart.”
- This is a watershed event.”
- “It was either die or do this transplant.”
- This doctor has successfully transplanted pig hearts into baboons in the past.
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Last year how many Americans received transplants?
- Which organ was transplanted the most last?
- Why can’t more Americans receive the transplants they need?
- Why is this procedure so important to for millions of Americans waiting for transplants?
- According to Dr. David Klassen, what is one of the major hurdles to overcome in these types of transplants?
- Why did Mr. Bennett, the heart recipient, go through with the transplant?
- Why is Mr. Bennett still connected to a heart-lung bypass machine?
- What does the process of xenotransplantation entail?
- What transplant was performed in the 1960s? Did it succeed?
- What is the advantage of using pigs over other primates for transplants?
- Why did the pig have to be genetically altered before the transplant?
- *Mr. Bennet has a criminal record for a serious assault 35 years ago, in which a young man was left paralyzed (read article below). In your opinion, should he have been saved by this transplant? Why or why not?
- Should there be guidelines for who should receive transplants? List the guidelines that you think would be necessary.
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.
*Patient in Groundbreaking Heart Transplant Has a Violent Criminal Record By Roni C. Rabin, The New York Times, Jan 10, 2022
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