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Tech for Food

Tech for Food

Unit Summary

Food is essential for living beings. With the increasing world population, ensuring sufficient food supply has become a big challenge. Thus, technology has been employed to help solve this issue through different ways. One of the ways is by producing Genetically-Modified food (GM food). GM food refers to “crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques” (Whiteman, 2000). However, there is controversy disputed over its advantages and disadvantages – Is GM food helpful or harmful?

Students role-play as non-governmental organization committee. They are invited to be representatives at the “Genetically-Modified Food: Harmful or Helpful?” Conference. They study about GM food and investigate the issue by conducting a mini survey on public awareness. They put forward their arguments on the need of GM food through a multimedia presentation. To reach out to the rest of the world, an online forum is initiated.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question:
    What does it take to survive?
  • Unit Question:
    Is GM food helpful or harmful?
  • Content Questions:
    What is GM food?
    How does GM food affect us?
    How aware is the public about GM food?

Assessment Processes

View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Tech for Food Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers to set goals; monitor students’ progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, and products and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Instructional Procedures

Introducing the Project
Discuss the Essential Question, What does it take to survive? with students. Have students write notes and questions in their journals during discussion periods.

Introduce the following scenario to the students using Tech for Food Presentation (PPT 780KB):

The world population has doubled in the last 30 years and lead to famine especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. GM food is being invented to overcome the issue. However, there is controversy disputed over its relative advantages and disadvantages – Is GM food helpful or harmful?

Explain that in their role as non-governmental organization committee, they are invited to be representatives at the “Genetically-Modified Food: Harmful or Helpful?” Conference. Students study about Genetically-Modified food (GM food) and investigate the issue by conducting a mini survey on public awareness. They put forward their arguments on the need of GM food through a multimedia presentation. To reach out to the rest of the world, an online forum is initiated.

Hand out the collaboration rubric (DOC 47KB) and tell students teamwork is important for the success of the project. Review the expectation with the students.

(Take-home activity: Have students read articles (PDF 3.28MB) about GM food and famine. Gauge students understanding about GM food and listening skills using GM food issue video* and listening worksheet (DOC 85KB.)

Gathering Information
Instruct student to focus on the GM food in Malaysia. Highlight their responsibilities in carrying out information research so as to be able to present in the conference effectively. Have students research the following Content Questions:

  • What is GM food?
  • How does GM food affect us?
  • How aware is the public about GM food?

Share with students the Research Rubric (DOC 33KB) and go through the various criteria such as Research strategy, Information gathering, Analysis and Synthesis. Allocate a week for students to search for information and plan for their research.

Guide students in constructing a questionnaire on public awareness on GM food by giving advice in editing, piloting and administering questionnaires. Refer http://www.statpac.com/surveys/* for survey/questionnaire tutorial. Students administer the questionnaire, analyse the results, then tabulate and interpret them.

Consolidating Findings and Creating Is GM Food Helpful or Harmful? Presentation
Discuss with students about their findings and review the Unit Question: Is GM food helpful or harmful? Have students put forward their arguments on the need of GM food through a presentation. Explain the presentation assessment tool (DOC 39KB) to the students and help them to understand the expected presentation standards. Allocate a week for students to complete their presentations.

Genetically-Modified Food: Harmful or Helpful? Conference
Arrange the Genetically-Modified Food: Harmful or Helpful? Conference in the school by collaborating with other teachers and classes to be participants and panellists. Arrange for experts from MARDI to attend the conference. During the conference session, students role play as non-governmental organization committee by presenting their findings (PPT 4.65MB). Peer comment is used to provide feedback for the presentation. Participants are invited to join the online forum* for further discussion about the issue after the conference.

Reflection
At the end of the unit, students reflect on the project and write an essay (DOC 27KB) on it.

Prerequisite Skills

  • Basic knowledge on food production
  • Ability to conduct research using resources in the forms of print and electronic
  • Have basic computer skills – word processing and multimedia presentation applications

Differentiated Instruction

Special Needs Students

  • Meet with students frequently to check their understanding and progress
  • Allow additional time if necessary

Gifted Student

  • Encourage students to compare the influences of GM food across countries

Nonnative Speakers

  • Provide a list of vocabulary words and definitions

Credits

The project idea has been developed by Teoh Khai Chia and Chew Shin Yi. A team of teachers expanded the plan into an example that you can see here.

Tech for Food

At a Glance

Year/Form: Form 4
Subject(s): English Language
Topics: Genetically-Modified Food
Key Learnings: Obtain, Process and Present Information about Genetically-Modified Food, Social Interaction
Time Needed: 4 Weeks (16 periods of 40 minutes)