Lesson Plan

Albert Sabin and Bioethics: Testing at the Chillicothe Federal Reformatory

Do the ends justify the means? Getting a drug approved in the US is a long and involved process. But at some point out, it involves testing on humans. The ethics of such testing is the focus of a resource that uses Dr. Albert Sabin's testing of his polio vaccine on inmates at the Chilliothe Federal Reformatory to explore bioethics. Participants examine primary source documents and then take a position on the question of whether or not it was ethical for Dr. Sabin to use prisoners as human test subjects for his oral vaccine.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • To present the case for extensive testing of drugs, carefully consider introducing the use of and consequences of using thalidomide as a treatment for morning sickness
  • All required resources, including the referenced PowerPoint and video are included in the resource
  • Some learners may need additional scaffolding to connect the various resources to the essential question