Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Gift of Life


Brittany Bowens, Teresa Lansford | Published: May 31st, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th
  • Subject Subject Science
  • Course Course Biology I
  • Time Frame Time Frame 215
  • Duration More 4-5 Periods


It is recommended that this lesson be taught after students learn the basics of genetics concerning alleles, dominant versus recessive genes, basic Punnett squares, and protein synthesis. In this lesson, students apply what they have learned about genetics to a real-world scenario, centering on codominance as an exception to the rules of heredity. This lesson focuses on the process it takes to receive an organ donation and how to appropriately determine and match blood types. This is a multimodality lesson, which means it includes face-to-face, online, and hybrid versions of the lesson. The attachments also include a downloadable Common Cartridge file, which can be imported into a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Canvas or eKadence. The cartridge includes interactive student activities and teacher's notes.

Essential Question(s)

What are the benefits and risks of organ donation? How does one determine if two people are a match?



Students reflect on what they already know about organ donations. Students watch a video on an organ recipient and their donor.


Students analyze truths and myths about being an organ donor.


Students watch a video on how to determine or predict an individual’s blood type, then explore Punnett squares in an interactive blood typing game.


Students watch an ICAP video in which a panel of individuals from LifeShare, an Oklahoma transplant center team, discuss their careers. Students work together using the S-I-T strategy to summarize the video.


Students explore data of organ donations and create a flyer that shows what they’ve learned.

Instructional Formats

The term "Multimodality" refers to the ability of a lesson to be offered in more than one modality (i.e. face-to-face, online, blended). This lesson has been designed to be offered in multiple formats, while still meeting the same standards and learning objectives. Though fundamentally the same lesson, you will notice that the different modalities may require the lesson to be approached differently. Select the modality that you are interested in to be taken to the section of the course designed for that form of instruction.



  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • My Little Kidney Video Questions (attached; 1 half-sheet per student)

  • Justified True or False Handout (attached; 1 per student)

  • Say Something handout (attached; 1 per student)

  • Stem Starters for Say Something handout (optional, attached; 1 per student or pair of students)

  • The Blood Connection Questionnaire (attached; 1 per student)

  • LifeShare S-I-T Handout (attached; 1 per student)

  • Organ Donation Flyer Instructions and Rubric (attached; 1 per student)

  • 9 x 12 Inch Mini Whiteboard (optional; 1 per student)

  • Dry Erase Marker (optional; 1 per student)

  • Whiteboard Eraser (optional; 1 per student)

  • A Match Made in DNA Questionnaire, Online (optional; 1 per student)

  • Internet-enabled student devices



30 Minute(s)

Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Display slide 3 to read aloud the essential questions: What are the benefits and risks to organ donations? How does one determine if two people are a match? Display slide 4 to go over the lesson objectives. Review these slides with students to the extent you feel necessary.

Go to slide 5. Invite students to participate in the Preflections strategy. Have students take out a sheet of paper and write for two minutes everything they know about organ donations. Call on students to share out their summaries.

Move to slide 6. Pass out a copy of the attached My Little Kidney Video Questions to each student. Inform students that today they will watch a video about a recipient of an organ transplant and their donor. Have students watch the video "My Little Kidney." Pause at the 4:17 mark for students to answer question 1 in the handout. Resume the video and have students finish watching the remainder of the video before answering question 2.



30 Minute(s)

Display slide 7. Pass out a copy of the attached Justified True or False handout to each student. Invite students to use the Justified True or False strategy to complete the handout, recording whether they believe each statement is true or false with an explanation as to why. After students have written down their responses, divide the room into imaginary halves. Designate one side "true" and the other "false".

Move to slide 8. Invite students to move to the "true" or "false" half of the room depending on which side corresponds to their thinking for the statement shown on the slide. Have a few students from either side share out their justifications from each side. Reveal that this statement is false according to LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma’s Student Quiz page (this page also contains answers and explanations for the other statements).

Display each statement on slides 9-17 one at a time, repeating the procedure above.



60 Minute(s)

Go to slide 18. Pass out a copy of the Say Something and Blood Connection Questionnaire handouts to each student. Invite students to use the Say Something strategy as they watch the video "A Match Made in DNA." Move to slide 19 and start the video.

As students watch, pause the video at the 1:05 mark. Have students use their Say Something handout to jot down a prediction, ask a question, clarify a source of confusion, comment on what's happening, or connect the video to something they already know. After students have jotted down their Say Something responses, call on students to share their responses.

Repeat this procedure three more times, pausing the video at the 3:08 mark, the 4:30 mark, and the 6:09 mark.

After completing the video, go to slide 20. Invite students to play the Blood Connection Game. Share the link to the game ( and have students play the game on a personal device such as a Chromebook. Students should answer the questions throughout the game on their Blood Connection Questionnaire handout.



35 Minute(s)

The following activity adds a career exploration element to this lesson. This way, students can discover different types of organ transplants, eligibility requirements for transplants, and how they can help spread the word about organ donations.

Move to slide 21. Pass out a copy of the attached LifeShare S-I-T handout to each student. Inform students that they will learn about the professionals who assist with organ donations on a daily basis. In particular, they will meet LifeShare, Oklahoma's Transplant Center Team. Invite students to watch the video "K20 ICAP - LifeShare of Oklahoma." Before playing the video, ask students to consider the number of individuals it takes to make a transplant happen, the variety of jobs involved in the transplant process, the different types of donations that can occur, and how the donors and recipients are chosen. Additionally, instruct students to complete the first row of the handout using the S-I-T (Surprising, Interesting, Troubling) strategy as they watch. In doing so, students should individually identify one surprising fact or idea, one interesting fact or idea, and one troubling fact or idea from the video.

Play the video for the class.

Once each student has identified their S-I-T facts or ideas, sort students into groups of four. Have them pass their papers clockwise. Each student should add to their group member’s list one additional fact, comment, correction, or image to extend the ideas present. Repeat this pass-and-add process until students get their original papers back. Have each group formulate and draft a group summary of the main lessons regarding organ donations that they gleaned from the video. Call on one student from each group to share their group's summary.



60 Minute(s)

Display slide 22. Pass out a copy of the Organ Donation Flyer Instructions and Rubric to each student. Have students complete their Preflections by researching information on organ donation and creating a social media flyer to share with others through a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook post. The flyer should connect data they found with their knowledge of how organ matches are determined.

Students who would like to create the assignment digitally but do not have a computer to do so while in school can plan and/or create their flyers on paper.

Once students have finished their flyers, post or display each flyer around the classroom. Guide students in a Gallery Walk to observe and comment on their classmates’ work.