To GM or Not to GM (AIG IRP)
This activity will require students to research GMO and to form an opinion on the use and advancement of GMO in their own town. Students will develop a presentation to either encourage or discourage the selling of land to a company that wants to farm GM crops in their town. Students are then required to present their finding to an actual council such as a town council, a civic organization or at a community meeting, or if this is not possible, create a media presentation- video/prezzi that can be sent to the council organization. This lesson was developed by NCDPI as part of the Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project. This lesson plan has been vetted at the state level for standards alignment, AIG focus, and content accuracy.
Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity: Included in the study of DNA technology is GMO and the ethics of growing/selling GMO. Most students and the general population are not aware of GMO and the pros/cons of GMO. Considering that 87% of soybeans and 81% of corn is now genetically modified, we need to be more aware of how GMO are produced and the pros/cons of GMO.
This activity will require students to research GMO and to form an opinion on the use and advancement of GMO in their own town. Students will develop a presentation to either encourage or discourage the selling of land to a company that wants to farm GM crops in their town. Students are then required to present their finding to an actual council such as a town council, a civic organization or at a community meeting, or if this is not possible, create a media presentation- video/prezzi that can be sent to the council organization.
Time Frame: 1 week
Type of Differentiation for AIGs:
Adaptations for AIGs:
Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This task requires students to read technical texts well as watch videos and read graphs/charts to reach their own conclusions about the use of GMO and to organize their response. They must be able to use their knowledge of GM foods to create a presentation to sway others to also agree with their opinion. They must be able to cite proof and evidence for their reasoning and be able to defend their opinion when asked. They must also be able to present their findings/opinion to audiences with little or no knowledge of GMO and be able to communicate their findings in a way that helps their audience understand GMO and provide them with enough data and information to allow the audience to also form an educated opinion on GMO.
- Computer w/internet, projector, screen
- Some possible websites to use:
Teacher Notes: Remind students to make sure they are using reliable sources with real data- such as USDA or research data. They need to be aware of bias in their research and to avoid using sources that are not based on scientific research and data.
Stage 1: Engage
88% of corn, 94% of cotton and 93% of soybeans share one characteristic. Can you guess what that is?
The numbers represent the % of these crops that are genetically modified on at least one way.
Genetically Modified foods are sometime referred to as Frankenfoods: bits and pieces of plants combined into one plant. What do students think about this term? Ask if they would feel comfortable eating foods called Frankenfoods.
Have students create a graph of what they think has happened over the last 15 years in terms of % of GM foods over time to determine if they realize how quickly the percent of GM has changed
Have students compare their graphs to the one below and use this to drive a discussion of why the public needs to be aware of the use/issues with GM foods.
Much of the canola, corn and soybeans grown in the US are actually GMO. Many people are unaware of this and don’t even know what GMO are. GMO were developed for several reasons: the first were developed to create bacteria that could produce insulin. Next GM plants were created that would allow the fruit to be more firm which meant they would last longer and decrease loss due to spoilage. Research on GMO has now moved to improving nutritional content of foods and making them pest resistant. As with most controversial topics in science, there is evidence showing GMOS are useful and not harmful and there is research showing GMO really are not that great and could have massive negative effects. Your job will be to research and construct your own answer as to the use of GMO.
Stage 2: Elaborate
Your public relations group has been hired by a firm that wants to purchase land owned by your town and farm GM foods. They have hired you to develop a plan to present to the local town council explaining what GM foods are, how they are made, and why they are safe. The local town council must vote on whether or not the company will be allowed to use the land to grow GM crops.
- Thoroughly research, using a variety of sources, what GMO are and how they are produced.
- Analyze the pros/cons of GMO foods by reading research on both sides of the issue. Areas to investigate include: cost of traditional crops vs. GMO, health benefits of GME vs. traditional, environmental effects of GMO and possible human health issues associated with GMO
- Create a presentation explaining the above and give your own informed opinion if GMO should be grown and sold in your town.
Stage 3: Evaluate
Develop a rubric that asses the student in the following areas:
- Organization of ideas
- Knowledge of GMO
- Use of a variety of sources
- Logical development of their opinion in their presentation-their reasoning is understandable
- Use of proof and evidence from reliable sources
- Listing of researched pros/cons of GMO
- Mechanics of presentation (grammar, spelling)
- Verbal techniques