University of Utah, Genetics Science Learning Center
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Assessment Item , Informative Text , Interactive Simulation
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



The Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah created this website to be an informational resource to students learning about cloning technology. The website contains four informational sections and two interactive simulations. The resource is appropriate for both students and teachers who may choose to learn the basics of the cloning process, the reason why humans clone, the history, and myths of cloning. Within these areas, there are videos, simulations, and diagrams to aid in student learning. A second section is an interactive exploration of the cloning process and an interactive quiz.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
  • Middle School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS4-5 Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on synthesizing information from reliable sources about the influence of humans on genetic outcomes in artificial selection (such as genetic modification, animal husbandry, gene therapy); and, on the impacts these technologies have on society as well as the technologies leading to these scientific discoveries.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This can be a stand-alone source for information In order to work towards meeting the performance expectation. However, in the context of the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards, the resource should be used in a CER (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning) approach or a similar approach that asks students to synthesize information about technologies that have changed the ways that humans are able to influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms. For example, students could be asked to support a claim such as, "Cloning has changed the way humans influence desired traits.” Students can then use this site and supplementary sites to gather information for an argument driven approach. This site could also provide information to support an explanation. This lesson provides a wealth of information on cloning but should be supplemented with additional research to achieve unbiased knowledge for both teachers and students. The National Institute of Health (NIH) provides a fact sheet that can be used for supplementary information, (, as well as NEWSELA, that will provide other cloning resources. As students search for and use information, they should assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of the sources they are using.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource should be one of a few to help gather and evaluate cloning as a method of artificial selection. The teacher needs to create a “guiding question” and focus questions to scaffold the students as they explore this site and others. The suggested approaches within the sections could be redesigned to focus on student-driven, teacher focused activities. Using the CER approach will help focus the students in supporting their evidence.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
“Clones are organisms that are exact genetic copies. Clones can happen naturally, identical twins are just one of many examples, or artificially”. The teacher may use this activity to facilitate learning about the concept of artificial selection and to help students see that cloning is a type of artificial selection. The material can also be a starting place for students to debate the ethics and morality of cloning. The following is an excerpt that will lead in this direction: “Our experiences have told us that, with a little work, we humans can clone just about anything we want, from frogs to sheep—and probably even ourselves. So we can clone things. But why would we want to? From a technical and moral standpoint, before human cloning becomes routine, we need to have a good idea of the risks involved”. This section taken from this resource provides a good starting point for “Argument-Driven Inquiry” to address this Disciplinary Core Idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Cloning is just one mechanism for the process of artificial selection. This lesson allows students to explore this phenomenon in detail and later the lesson can be extended to observe other means of artificial selection as they are compared to natural selection. This resource provides information about a phenomenon (cloning), which should be , used as a starting point for “Socratic Seminars” , “Philosophical Chairs” , and inquiry-based activities, during which the cause and effect relationship between traits in organisms and advances in technology can be explored.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson integrates the three dimensions of NGSS by having students make sense of cloning as a method of artificial selection. While it does require student performances through the interactives, it is not student-driven. This could be a worthwhile activity in a lesson progression that works toward the performance expectation by the teacher using the website as a research and reference resource for a more argument driven approach. The suggested approaches within the sections could be redesigned to focus on a student-driven, teacher focused activities that integrate elements of the practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas to make sense of phenomena.

  • Instructional Supports: The information provided and the “Click and Clone” lab are relevant and help students understand the cloning process. This lesson provides scientifically accurate and grade-appropriate scientific information, phenomena, and representations that support students’ three-dimensional learning. This resource engages students in authentic and meaningful scenarios that reflect the practice of science. Teacher support is not readily available; however the teacher can use suggestions and information to focus the lesson.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The class and group discussions that will be incorporated into the activity will allow the teacher to formatively assess student understanding as the activity progresses. The “Is it Cloning? Or Not?” Interactive quiz will show how the student understanding is progressing. Student responses to questions can be used formatively or summatively, depending on whether the activity is used as a lesson on cloning or in a lesson progression that meets the entire performance expectation.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -