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Amy Jacobson. East High School in Des Moines, IA. a [email protected] https:// Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA. For The Overall Good? : The Two Sides of GMO’s. Summary:.

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For the overall good the two sides of gmo s

Amy Jacobson

East High School in Des Moines, IA

[email protected]

Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA

For The Overall Good? : The Two Sides of GMO’s


In this investigation, students will be learning about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Specifically, students will be investigating what they are, how they are made, how they are used, and will also take a look at the positive and negative aspects of GMOs. Afterward, students will formulate their own opinions through questioning an expert panel and then further researching information about each side. Then, they will present their information in a debate format with their classmates. Lastly, students will develop a poster, paper, or newspaper article that will present their final opinion while also stating both sides of the argument.

Driving/Essential Question(s):

  • The main driving question for this project is: Should we, as a community, continue to use GMOs? Over the course of the project students will develop and answer need to know questions . Here is a list of possible need-to-knows; these are specific content oriented questions that will help students to answer the driving question for the unit. These lists will vary depending on what course you are teaching. Here is a variety of questions that are both closed and open-ended.

  • What are GMOs?

  • How are GMOs developed?

  • What are the benefits and concerns (be sure to address both health and conservation issues) of GMOs?

  • How are GMOs affecting biodiversity?

Targeted Standards and/or Skills:

Next Generation Science Standards that can be met through this activity

HS-LS2-6 - Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

HS-LS2-7 - Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

HS-LS4-2 - Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.

HS-LS4-3 - Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.

HS-LS4-4 - Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.

HS-LS4-5 - Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.

HS-LS3-2 - Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors (humans).


  • This is outlined as a two week project where students will be researching and gathering information in order to prepare for a debate that will ultimately answer the driving question. Students will be graded on their preparation and delivery throughout the debate with their classmates. The moderator will also be preparing for both sides and will be included in the group overall grade (they are responsible for asking two-sided questions in order to keep the debate moving). For the final project, students will have the opportunity to choose from creating a newspaper article (using Publisher), poster, or writing a persuasive paper that will be assessed by their peers and other teachers/administrators. Students should work in groups of two (three if needed) to complete their project. Overall, students should be graded on the accuracy of the information and their ability to present their argument. After each of the projects is assessed by teacher, peers, and other members throughout the school, the top four projects (two from each side) will then go on to present their argument of whether or not the community should allow the production/use of GMO products to the Community Board. Technology will be used throughout the unit, computers with internet will be used for research and computers for typing (possibly Microsoft Publisher if completing newspaper article) to complete the goals of the final project and answer the driving question.