Lesson Plan

Genetically Modified Foods - Should I Be Concerned?

#STEMChallenge Exploring the Issue of Genetically Modified Foods
Donna M.
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Health & Wellness
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Students will be able to explain what a genetically modified (GM) food is.

Students will be able to explain pros and cons of GM foods.

Students will be able to analyze the tradeoffs of labeling GM foods.

Students will be able to present a persasive argument for or against GM foods, using a digital tool.

Social Studies
Grades 9 - 11
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Use the Exploratorium website: http://www.exploratorium.edu/theworld/gm/test.html  Science Wire: Technology News Beyond the Headlines, to have students take a quiz, "How much do you know about GM foods?" Review answers with students and discuss any preconceptions/misconceptions that become apparent. The results of the quiz and ensuing discussion informs the amount and type of Direct Instruction the teacher will provide to ensure student understanding of the topic.Start a list of questions students have about GM foods, that will be answered throughout the unit.

2 Direct Instruction

Students watch two videos and read an interactive text about genetically modified organisms.These videos and reading comes from  "Harvest of Fear," FRONTLINE/NOVA special report, that explores how genetically modified organisms are created and some of the issues surrounding the marketing of these foods.

Video: Classical vs Transgenic Breeding


Video: Super Salmon


Interactive Reading:  "Should We Grow GM Crops?" 


After students view these resources, they should be able to explain what GM foods are and how they differ from organic foods. They should be able to state the pros and cons of producing and eating genetically modified foods.

The questions that were created at the beginning of the lesson can be revisited and discussed, using the standards for collegial discussions.


3 Guided practice

The site on PBS, Engineer a Crop, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/engineer/ has two computer simulations that allow students to practice slelective breeding and trangenic manipulation.

Students work through each simulation and then compare each procedure. 

The questions that were created at the beginning of the lesson can be revisited.



4 independent practice

Free, Free to Try, Paid

Curriculet: Current Event, "So What Happens If The Movement To Label GMOs Succeeds?" Students complete the curriculet by reading the article, clicking on each annotation such as an NPR broadcast, answering the checkpoint questions; and taking the culminating quiz. 

PBS: Guess What's Coming to Dinner


This interactive site demonstrates the variety of GM foods Americans currently eat or are in production. Students should be able to summarize the quantity of GM foods they eat and discuss/predict what the future holds for  GM foods in the US.





5 Wrap-Up

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Google Drive
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Voki Classroom
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Free to Try, Paid

Students create a persuasive project that states their point of view regarding the production and labeling of GM foods. Using the standards for argumentation, they should state their opinion, support it with at least three pieces of evidence derived from the unit and present at least one opposing point of view. The project is rubric scored. Students may choose to create:

  • an Animoto
  • a Google Drive Presentation
  • an essay ion Google Doc
  • a speech in Voki
  • a Glogster
  • some other method with teacher approvoal