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Posts Tagged ‘children’

TDIH: First “Test-Tube Baby” Born

“I’m not a wizard or a Frankenstein tampering with Nature. We are not creating life.
We have merely done what many people try to do in all kinds of medicine–to help
nature. We found nature could not put an egg and sperm together, so we did it.”
Patrick Steptoe, who with Robert Edwards, perfected in vitro fertilization
of the human egg and delivered the world’s first “test-tube baby.”

In Vitro Fertilization via Pixabay [Public Domain]

It’s hard to imagine now, but when the first baby was born as the result of in vitro fertilization (IVF) on July 25, 1978, it was highly controversial. The birth attracted opposition from scientists and religious leaders, and international media attention. Louise Brown, the world’s first so-called “test tube baby” was conceived in a laboratory and born at Oldham General Hospital in England. The term “test-tube baby” is actually a misnomer, since IVF is usually performed in shallower glass containers called Petri dishes. After the birth was announced, her parents received bags full of hate mail from across the globe, as well as fan letters. While some are still opposed to IVF for ethical and religious reasons, more than 5 million children have been born worldwide through its use. Nearly 68,000 babies were born using IVF methods in the U.S. alone in 2015.

Louise Brown Holding the 1000th Bourn Hall Baby, 1987
Courtesy Bourn Hall Clinic, via National Library of Medicine [CC BY 4.0]

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 10% to 15% of couples in the US are infertile—meaning they are unable to conceive through natural means. The IVF technique was pioneered by two doctors in Cambridge, England–gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and reproductive biologist Robert Edwards. Their research led to the successful fertilization of a human egg outside the body and the transfer of the resulting embryo to the womb of Lesley Brown. A healthy baby girl was delivered to Lesley and her husband John after they had tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child for 15 years using natural methods. Two years later Steptoe and Edwards founded the world’s first IVF clinic, Bourn Hall Clinic, near Cambridge, England. The techniques and drugs now used around the world were first developed there.

Today, despite objections to its use (for example, Catholic hospitals often prohibit doctors from performing basic reproductive services including IVF), it has become much more widely accepted. For the most part, the ethical debate going on now is not so much about IVF itself, but the on the limits or constraints that should be placed on its use. Since the first IVF baby was born only 39 years ago, the long-term risks are not known. If a couple divorces, who gets custody and control of their frozen embryos? IVF enables single women to become mothers, same-sex couples to have a child of their own, and older women who are past menopause to become mothers. (In 2016, a 70-year-old Indian woman became the world’s oldest mother by using IVF.)

The average cost for IVF in the U.S. ranges from $12,000-$15,000 and can go much higher depending on individual circumstances and variables like the mother’s age or whether a surrogate is used. Although some insurance companies cover IVF procedures, many don’t. As a result, only people with the financial means to afford costly assisted reproductive technologies are able to take advantage of them, shutting out lower-income people who also want to become parents.

Screen Cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

Educators, direct your students to the new and updated SIRS Issues Researcher to dig deeper into the topic of Human Reproductive Technology. This Leading Issue explores these issues in-depth by asking users the Essential Question, “Does the use of human reproductive technology challenge the basic ideas of conception?” Background information, a timeline, viewpoint articles, multimedia resources and questions for critical thinking and analysis and are provided. They can also explore these other related Leading Issues:

Anonymous Eggs and Sperm Donation

Genetic Testing

Human Cloning

Stem Cells

Surrogacy

SIRS Issues Researcher supports state, national and international learning standards. Don’t have it? Request a free trial.

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Book Float Projects

As an editor for SIRS Discoverer who has children in elementary school, I like to pay attention to my children’s assignments at school to inform my editorial selections. I believe this adds a layer of personal relevancy to my work. Many projects in elementary school have a research component and that’s where SIRS Discoverer is very valuable as an age-appropriate resource.

My daughter’s 4th grade class was assigned a “Book Float” project this year. I had never heard of these projects before, but after a little research, I found that they are a common 4th grade project.

The idea is to make a shoebox into a miniature parade float based on the theme of a recently read book. The students have to make a 3-D scene from the book, write a summary, rate the book, and present it to the class.

My daughter chose the book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. She really enjoyed reading the book and the book float was really fun to make. Here are some photos of the finished product. The printed pictures are some scenes from the book, the hearts represent Matilda’s kindness, and the miniature books represent Matilda’s love for reading.

book float 1

Image by Jennifer Oms

book float 2

Image by Jennifer Oms

Teachers, a great place to learn about children’s books is in SIRS Discoverer! Here are some subject searches in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer to get you started:

Children’s books

Books and reading

Books

Read-Aloud Plays for Teachers and Students

Many elementary school classes like to perform short plays. It helps the students with their reading skills, memorization, public speaking, and more. My daughter’s third-grade class performed a short play for some of the students this year! They performed a Native American play called “The Strongest One.” It was great to see all of the students working together during the performance and having a great time too. They even asked questions to the audience afterwards about the message behind the play–how all things are connected within our environment.

"The Strongest One" Play Performed by Third-Grade Students

“The Strongest One” Play Performed by Third-Grade Students
Image by Jennifer Oms

A great place for teachers to find read-aloud plays for elementary school students is in SIRS Discoverer! You can find a great collection of plays for many different reading levels. From historical fiction to mysteries to fantasies and more. Here are some examples:

The Ballad of John Henry Storyworks

The Case of the Gooey Chocolate SuperScience

The Spiderwick Chronicles Storyworks

And from SIRS Discoverer WebFind, here is a resource for more children’s plays:

ZOOM Playhouse: Act Up and Put On a Play PBS

SIRS Discoverer also has a great collection of fictional read-aloud stories for children such as:

Hannah and the Birdman Storyworks

The Day That Lasted All Night Click

For all our your researching needs, turn to SIRS Discoverer.

Celebrating Jane Yolen

10.15.11JaneYolenByLuigiNovi

Jane Yolen
Source: Luigi Novi [CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Jane Yolen was born on Feb. 11, 1939. She has published hundreds of books, novels, poetry and short stories suitable for children and teens. Her novella geared for young adults, “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” draws on Holocaust history to captivate readers and was turned into a made-for-TV-movie in 1999. Her ever-growing imagination and talent for fiction-writing has led her to win notable awards and accolades. While she is now both a mother and grandmother, her love for children’s literature began way before having children of her own. She has written stories and penned poems since childhood, though she jokingly refers to the first poem she ever wrote, “Bus, bus, wait for us!” as being “truly awful.” To celebrate Jane Yolen’s birthday through the power of literature and prose, think about incorporating a mix of ProQuest resources and educational activities into your next lesson:

1. ProQuest eLibrary Research Topic on Jane Yolen: ProQuest eLibrary Research Topics are carefully hand-crafted with curated materials to meet your educational needs.

Jane Yolen Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Jane Yolen Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

2. ProQuest SIRS Discoverer not only guides you in the right direction, but is also a great resource for discovering other children’s book authors and their works. Here are a couple of articles to get you started: see Poet Finds Inspiration All Around Her and Jane Yolen: A Writer for Every Reader.

3. Jane Yolen’s For Teachers PageA wealth of teacher resources for use in the classroom can be found on Jane Yolen’s web site.

4. NPR Interview: Kids Author Jane Yolen Never Too Old For Comics: Audio interviews as primary sources are both personal and informative.

5. Reading Rockets: Interview with Jane Yolen: Video interviews can be a wonderful way to complement a lesson and bring an author’s experiences to life.

Go Gold in September!

As children grow, they start to realize what they want to become in life or do in the future. They look to their teachers and parents for guidance and support. When they voice their dreams, it usually isn’t hard to imagine reaching those dreams one day. But sometimes life deals a wildcard. Cancer. Childhood cancer can lead to death and “nearly 2,000 children die of cancer each year in the United States” according to the National Cancer Institute. That is far too many.

When a little girl named Annie Bartosz lost her twin brother Jack to cancer, she decided to start Gold in September or the G9 project. With a goal to bring awareness to pediatric cancer front and center, the project encourages everyone to show support through the color gold. Finding a cure for cancer will help all children grow up healthy and reach their dreams. Just as pink is the chosen color to represent Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, gold represents Childhood Cancer Awareness in September because “children are precious” just like the precious metal.

Here are some resources where you can learn about childhood cancers and find ways to help:

This year you can make a difference by lighting your life and the lives of others gold.

Video Credit: Gold In September via YouTube