Lesson: Genetically Modified Organisms (1-3 50 minute classes)
Students will explain what genetically modified foods are and how they are created. Students will use appropriate vocabulary to describe and effectively discuss the benefits and potential risks of, genetically modified foods. Students will identify foods that they consume or encounter that do or likely contain genetically modified organisms and those that do not. Students will discuss critically some of the issues that surround the GMO debate to include: globalization, safety, labeling, and impact on family farms.
References, materials, equipment and other resources:
Construction paper, markers, power point presentation, homework sheet and follow along notes sheet. Articles:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june00/food_4-4.html http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/july-dec99/seeds_8-12.html http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec02/zambia.html
Introduction: (10-30 minutes)
Teacher will introduce the topic of genetically modified organisms using the text below as a reference.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms. These organisms have, in some way, had their genome altered (the "genome" is the total of all the genes in an organism of a specific species).
The creation of GMOs involves using recombinant technology to place genes from one organism into another of a different species to confer some trait. For example, Monsanto Company has placed a gene from a soil bacterium into the genome of a potato plant, giving the potato plant resistance to a common pest, the Colorado potato beetle.
These potatoes are now commercially grown in the U.S. The pesticide that used to be sprayed on the potatoes to fight the beetle is no longer necessary. The U.S. is the primary producer of GMO foods in the world. GMOs are often referred to correctly as "transgenic organisms" and "genetically engineered organisms." In addition to plants, many types of bacteria and animals have all been genetically engineered. Bacteria are used to produce human protein, such as insulin, through the insertion of the human gene into their genome. Additionally, goats have been engineered to produce valuable human protein in their milk and pigs to produce hemoglobin in large quantities in their blood.
Extra Options (20-50 minutes) - use power point presentation to introduce the topic of GMO’s. Notes for the presentation are at the end of this document.
Show Food, INC. chapter and use Food, INC. discussion guide or PBS lesson plan.
“From Seed to the Supermarket” (length 9:50) The clip begins at 1:06:12 with a shot of a sunrise over a farm and ends at 1:16:02 with the on-screen text: “Monsanto declined to be interviewed for this film.”
Activity: Setting the stage (10 – 15 minutes per piece)
Teacher will choose student volunteers to take on the roles of those individuals in the two News Hour pieces entitled "High Tech Food" and "Seeding the Future,"
Have the students sit in front of the class and go through the piece, acting as the interviewer and the interviewees. This could be given to the students a day or two prior to the presentation, giving them a chance to read over and highlight their parts and understand the context of their roles. This can be made more exciting for the students by acquiring a few items, such as a microphone, a lab coat, overalls etc., for the readers.
Instruct students that are listening to listening jot down words and phrases with which they are unfamiliar.
Students will read the article aloud to the class and take notes of words and phrases with which they are unfamiliar. These can be used as a discussion piece later.
This activity and both of these articles do an excellent job of presenting to students the many perspectives on...
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