As a high school or undergraduate Biological Sciences teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to teach about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), their genetic make-up and application in agriculture and industry.
This lesson plan will explain what GMOs are, describe how they are constructed and will introduce the question of whether GM crops could be one possible mechanism to address food and livelihood security in the face of global climate change.
The use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Biological Sciences.
This is a teacher-contributed lesson plan by Dr Sneha Bhogale, Pune, India. Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.
Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:
- What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? How are they used in agriculture and industry?
- What is the difference between GMOs and gene edited organisms?
- Describe how GMO crops are created.
- Are GMO crops one possible solution to food and livelihood security in the wake of changing climatic conditions?
About Lesson Plan
|Grade Level||High school, Undergraduate|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Genetic Engineering, Gene Editing, GMO Crops
|Climate Topic(s)||Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
Climate and the Biosphere
Climate and the Anthroposphere
|Access||Online, some resources are available offline|
|A set of videos
(8-10 min each) and associated readings (5-7 min each)
|A set of video interviews of plant scientists to introduce what GMOs are, explain how genetic engineering techniques are used to introduce/regulate desired traits or remove/ regulate undesirable factors in organisms, and the application of GMOs across different fields like agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry.
Explore various topics using separate tabs to discuss whether GMOs affect human health, plant and insect ecosystems, and how are they regulated.
|Video (~10 min)||A video that describes how GMO plants are created by genetic engineering techniques.|
|Reading (10 min)||A reading that explains how GMO seeds could help African farmers deal with the adverse effects of climate change on crops.|
Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
Step 1: Topic introduction and discussion
- Use a set of videos and associated readings, ‘The Science of GMOs’ by Purdue University, to introduce the topic of GMOs to your students
- Navigate through the tabs at the bottom of the webpage to explain various topics concerning GMOs, as listed below:
- What are GMOs?
- Why do we use GMOs?
- Do GMOs harm health?
- How do GMOs affect insects?
- How does the regulation process work?
- What about GMOs and weeds?
- What’s the story on GMOs and labeling?
- What is gene editing?Use each section to enable discussions regarding the different aspects of the creation and usage of GMOs in agriculture and industry.
3. Finally, discuss the difference between genetically modified crops and gene edited crops.
Step 2: Extend understanding
- Use the video, ‘How to Make a Genetically Modified Plant’ by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, to explain how genetic engineering techniques are used to modify the genetic material in plants to introduce, remove or regulate certain traits.
- Discuss, using the examples given in the video, the rationale for modifying certain traits in these plants.
- Describe, using the video, the molecular components (gene of interest, plasmid, promoter sequence, origin of replication (ORI), regulatory sequences, antibiotic selection gene), techniques (gene-transfer, plasmid selection), and strategies employed to create GM crops.
Step 3: Discuss further
- Use the reading, ‘African farmers want GMO seeds to help weather climate change’ by John Agaba, Alliance for Science, Cornell University, to explain to your students how GM crops could possibly bolster food security in several Sub-Saharan African countries that are dealing with failed crops due to climate change.
- Use the text to emphasize to your students how the GM seeds could be the solution to growing crops that are more resilient in changing climatic conditions.
- Discuss the various case studies mentioned in the text to explain to your students the different approaches adopted by several African countries to improve their crop yield and crop resilience.