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Genetically Modified Foods PBL/STEM Activity:

Driving Question Can we sustain our food supply and crops during dust storms?
1)

Introduce GMO foods definition:


Dictionary.com definition:
o genetically modified organism: an organism or microorganism
whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic
engineering.
Science teachers definitions:
o Definition: GMO is when humans intentionally manipulate any
organisms DNA sequence.
o Kid friendly: GMO is when people force a change in a living
things instructions to make itself.

2)

Students research the history, benefits, and concerns of GMO foods and 5 types of GMO foods
using notes sheet chart. They may use this list of websites at: http://sqworl.com/vbe0ea
3) Students work in teams to address a Mission Impossible task challenging them to create a
crop protection system. Students will take on the role of farmers during the time of the Dust
Bowl.
G Students will create something that will help protect crops from harsh weather and damage
during Dust Storms
R Farmer during the Dust Bowl Era
A Farmers and families affected by the Dust Storms and who are losing crops and money
S The challenge involves creating a substantial food supply, using materials that are readily
available, that help protect crops from physical and chemical changes caused by dust storms.
P Students will develop a device that will help sustain the food supply that is being destroyed
by the dust storms.
S A successful result will allow students to exhibit their knowledge of physical and chemical
change in food and will give them the opportunity to create new means of food preservation.
4) After completing their research on GMOs, students will write a persuasive essay/letter to the
farmers in the Dust Bowl region, either encouraging or discouraging farmers from using
GMOs on their crops. Students will present their argument to their classmates.
Rubrics included!

STEM Activity
Introduction Students will view pictures of crops and farms during the Dust Bowl period. After
gaining an understanding of how crops were grown and destroyed suring this time, students will
begin to design a protection system for their crops.
G Students will create something that will help protect crops from harsh weather and damage
during Dust Storms
R Farmer during the Dust Bowl Era
A Farmers and families affected by the Dust Storms and who are losing crops and money
S The challenge involves creating a substantial food supply, using materials that are readily
available, that help protect crops from physical and chemical changes caused by dust storms.
P Students will develop a device that will help sustain the food supply that is being destroyed
by the dust storms.
S A successful result will allow students to exhibit their knowledge of physical and chemical
change in food and will give them the opportunity to create new means of food preservation.
Materials
Straws
Construction paper
Fan/Hair dryer
Soils
Water spray
Coffee filters
String
Plastic Wrap
Tin Foil
Fabric
Plastic Tubes
Materials will be constructed to simulate crop structures and dust storms

Category:
Research
Notes
(depth of
research)

Clarity in
Problem

Logic &
Reasoning
in Solution

Evidence
from
Sources

Creativity in
Product

4
Detailed notes
on topic show
advanced
depth of
research from
multiple
sources
Project displays
clear, detailed
understanding
of the regions
problem

3
Somewhat detailed
notes on topic show
proficient depth of
research from more
than one source

2
Notes on topic
lack depth of
research or only
include one
source

1
Notes on topic
are incomplete

Project displays
understanding of
the regions
problem

Project displays
minimal
understanding
of the regions
problem

Project lacks
understanding
of the regions
problem

Well-organized
argument for
the solution to
the regions
problem
demonstrates
clear logic and
supportive
reasoning
using correct
language
conventions
(grammar,
spelling, etc.)
Argument is
supported with
strong citations
cited correctly
from multiple
sources

Argument for the


solution to the
regions problem
somewhat
demonstrates logic
and supportive
reasoning using
mostly correct
language
conventions
(grammar, spelling,
etc.)

Argument for
the solution to
the regions
problem lacks
logic and
supportive
reasoning and
exhibits
incorrect
language
conventions
(grammar,
spelling, etc.)

Incomplete
argument for
the solution to
the regions
problem
obstructed by
incorrect
language
conventions
(grammar,
spelling, etc.)

Argument is
moderately
supported with
strong citations
cited mostly
correctly from
multiple sources
Project exhibits
creativity using
multiple media
(technology, art,
etc.)

Argument is
supported with
minimal
citations cited
mostly correctly
from at least
one source
Project lacks
creativity using
minimal media
(technology, art,
etc.)

Argument is
supported with
at least one
citation

Project exhibits
unique
creativity using
multiple media
(technology,
art, etc.)

Persuasive Essay/Letter

Project lacks
creativity and
effort

After completing their research on GMOs, students will write a persuasive essay/letter to the farmers
in the Dust Bowl region, either encouraging or discouraging farmers from using GMOs on their crops.
Students will present their argument to their classmates.
Students will use the chicken foot graphic organizer to plan their writing. They must take one side
and present evidence why they are proposing this stance.

Once planning, wiritng, and publishing is complete; students can


choose to present their argument in a PSA (public service
announcement), Powerpoint, Newspaper article, or letter to the editor
style presentation.
Materials:
Chicken foot graphic organizer (on active board)
Paper
Writing tool
Research materials
Ipads
Technology