Local and Global Citizenship Unit - The cost of our food
Ask the class what are GM foods? The following web pages help to explain genetically modified foods.
The ideas behind genetic engineering are not new – artificial selection is the basis of modern farming. Animals were bred to encourage the characteristics familiar to us today. Modern wheat, barley and other crops bear little resemblance to the plants they originated from. Listen to the following clip about choosing better varieties of plants.
BBC TANDY: Growing Places: Plant Varieties [Flash Audio]
What kind of characteristics are they looking for in plants? Genetic engineering is a faster way of producing the characteristics we want in plants. (Genetic engineering is the method used to produce genetically modified (GM) foods). Read the following articles about genetically modified foods:
List five key points from each article. Place each of the points that you have written on a ‘pmi’ grid, where p stands for positive, m for minus and i for interesting:
Watch the following video clips:
BBC News: GM Crops
- BBC News The GM Debate For: [Flash Video]
Consolidate learning on this issue with a ‘spectrum debate’. This strategy allows pupils to express where they stand when confronted with ambiguity or grey areas – on issues which are not black and white. Construct an imaginary line across the room with each end of the room represents opposing viewpoints, in this case totally for GM foods and totally against GM foods. This imaginary line forms a spectrum of levels of agreement/disagreement with the midpoint representing neither for nor against. Pupils line themselves along this spectrum. They are free to explain their opinion and may move place if they change their mind during the debate. A debrief after the activity will highlight areas where there was agreement and areas which divided the class.