What is Cloning?

Overview & Concepts

This is an introductory lesson on cloning.  It is a mini webquest that gives students an opportunity to learn about the different ways clones come about and then gives them the opportunity to participate in a somatic cell nuclear transfer in a virtual mouse.  Through this lesson, students will develop an understanding of cloning and the different techniques used to accomplish it.  After this lesson, students will begin studying stem cells.  

Grade Level: 

Concepts Covered: 

Genetics, DNA, cloning, reproduction

Prior Knowledge Required: 

genes, DNA, sexual reproduction, mitosis

Activity Notes

Days to Teach: 

What is cloning (25 min), Click and clone (20 min), Risks associated with cloning (15 min)


  • Computers and internet  
  • Cloning worksheet handout

Teaching Tips / Activity Overview: 

  • It might be useful to quickly click through the different websites that will be used in this lesson as a whole class just so the students are familiar with the web sites they will be using.
  • I let the students use their headphones for any computer work with sound just so that they stay focused on what they are doing and where they are at in the activity and do not get distracted by all the sounds in the room.

Instructional Sequence:

  1. Introduction: The teacher will begin class by asking the students who Dolly the Sheep is.  The teacher will lead a quick discussion on cloning and then explain the lesson activities
  2. Activity: Students will go to the "What is cloning" website and complete written questions about the different types of cloning and how they are accomplished. Next, students will complete a somatic cell nuclear transfer in a virtual mouse.  Necessary ingredients and tools appear on the screen and students can move the petri dishes around and explore the process using a microscope. At the end of the process, students will have a baby mouse clone. Finally, the students will explore the ethics related to cloning and write a short opinion essay answering seven key questions about their views of cloning.
  3. Wrap-up: The teacher will ask students to informally share their views on cloning with the class as time permits.
  4. Students will be required to complete their opinion essay for homework after brief class discussion. The teacher will go over the students' worksheet the next day to check for accuracy and to review.


During class discussions, the teacher will assess students' perceptions and reactions informally. Student worksheets will be gone over in class to ensure that all the students have the correct answers and that the students fully understand cloning.  Students' essays will be read by the teacher and will receive points for completed entries that are orderly and perceptive.


  • Have groups of students make posters of the different kinds of cloning.
  • Allow students to research and report on other organisms which have been cloned.



These teacher notes and resources were produced by Melissa Barr. This lesson plan utilizes The University Of Utah's teacher resource pages on cloning and its mouse cloning simulation.

Academic Standards
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