Teaching Controversial Science Issues Through Law Related Education

C. Ford Morishita
1991 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute


The purpose of this unit will allow students to:
  • understand evolution and creation science theories using law related education as a vehicle.
  • examine how constitutional law impacts teaching of creation science and evolution in public schools.
  • develop critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  • integrate science issues into other disciplines (i.e. social studies).
  • validate science concepts when applied to issue /topic that is meaningful to them.


This unit is designed for teachers to use as a framework to teach controversial issues in their classrooms. Although this unit deals with the creation/evolution debate, any issue can be implemented just as easily. The following activities, outline, grade assignments and references provide you with resources necessary to construct your own unit. For more information about this unit, refer to article #4 in "Resources."


See course outline of activities. The activities include:


  1. Arbetman, L. & Row, R.L. (1985). Great Trials in American History. St. Paul Minn.: West Publishing Co.
  2. Burke, D. (1985). Creation and Evolution (When Christians Disagree). New York: Intervarsity Press.
  3. Greenburg, M. (1983). The Constitutional Issues Concerning the Science-Creation Conflict in Public Schools. Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 10, 461-487.
  4. Morishita, Ford. (1991) Teaching About Controversial Issues: Resolving Conflict Between Creationism & Evolution Through Law-Related Education . The American Biology Teacher, Volume 53, No.2, 91-93.
  5. Morris, H. (1982). Scientififc Creationism. (2nd Edition). San Diego: Creation Life Publishers.

    Law Cases & House Bill:

  6. Edwards, Edwin W. vs. Aguillard, Don (1987)
    re: Louisiana's Balance Treatment Act
  7. Lemon et. al. vs. Kurtzman, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Pennsylvania, et. al.
    re: Federal government's role surrounding religious purpose ( Lemon Test )
  8. House Bill 2633-sponsored by Davis, Jolin, L. Roberts
    re: Mandatory balanced treatment of evolution and creation theories in public schools.
*Note: The aforementioned court cases can be referenced in any law school library.

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