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Genetics ESL Lesson Plan

A Look Into 'CRISPR' & Gene-Editing Technology

Student Level


Video Length: 2:58

Updated on: 06/20/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Genetics ESL Lesson Plan Description


This genetics ESL lesson plan provides activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials designed for advanced C1 students. In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore the topic of genes, genetics, and genetic editing in detail
  • Learn some vocabulary terms that are commonly paired with “gene” or “genetic”
  • Watch a video about ‘CRISPR’, a type of a gene-editing technology
  • Learn and use some vocabulary related to genes/genetics
  • Engage in a variety of ethical discussions about genes and genetics


To start off this ESL lesson plan on genetics, students discuss a variety of questions about genetics. These include their own understanding of genes and their role in living organisms, as well as some genetic traits they’ve inherited or have in common with their parents or siblings.

Then, students do a word association activity. They explore some words that come to mind when they think of “genes” and “genetics”. These might include:

  • Genetic testing
  • Gene therapy
  • Genetic disorder
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Genetic mutation
  • Gene editing

In the final activity on this page, students read some news headlines about CRISPR, a gene-editing technology. They discuss which ones they think offer a positive / negative outlook.


In the second stage of this lesson, students watch an engaging, animated video that explores recent trials using CRISPR — a gene-editing technology. The video discusses how CRISPR works, clinical trials that are going on in the UK, as well as some remaining questions and challenges of CRISPR.

In the first activity, students choose whether a set of topics are discussed or not discussed in the video.

Then, there is a set of questions for students to answer about CRISPR.


In the first part of this activity, students reflect on the video. They first discuss their views on using DNA alterations to treat medical conditions, including whether they would use CRISPR for themselves or future children, and other genetic ethical issues.

Then, they imagine attending an ethics workshop at the World Bioethics Conference led by Mrs. Martinelli. They match vocabulary terms to her speech, covering topics like designer babies, conserving endangered species, labeling genetically modified foods, health coverage policies, and genetic predispositions.

Finally, students discuss which topic from the workshop they find most interesting and why. This is designed to get students thinking critically and using ethical reasoning.


In this activity, students explore various ethical issues related to genetic engineering through discussion and debate. They first take turns discussing topics such as cloning endangered species, designer babies, nature versus nurture, labeling genetically modified foods, and the use of genetic information by employers and insurers. Each question prompts students to share their opinions and consider different viewpoints.

After the discussions, students reflect on which topics sparked the most debate, which were challenging, and which they felt strongly about.


Engaging Content:

The animations in this CRISPR video are well-designed and keep students engaged while teaching them about gene editing.

Ethical Thinking:

Discussions on genetic ethics encourage critical thinking, and get students thinking about important topics that they may not have had the opportunity to discuss previously.

Real-World Relevance:

The lesson connects scientific topics to real issues like genetic therapy and CRISPR. In addition, it educates students on current affairs in medicine and science.

Interactive Debates:

Students engage in debates on cloning, designer babies, and genetic privacy. Activities that are designed like this one often get students involved and encourage participation.

Video Description

This animated video explores all the corners of gene therapy and CRISPR technology, which is gaining speed in modern science.

Lesson Activities


Genetics / Genes, CRISPR & Gene Editing


Video Topics (discussed/not discussed), Short Answers


Word Association, Ethical Topics


Ethical Discussions on Genes / Genetics

Lesson Topics

Genes, Genetics, Gene Editing, CRISPR

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