Genetically Modified FoodOverview
“GMO Food Fears and the First Test Tube Tomato” was made in 2013. The 11-minute video has not been updated, giving students an opportunity to consider how the film could be updated to reflect other ideas or more recent developments, and to contemplate the responsibilities of journalists in their approach to film media.
In this lesson, students will demonstrate higher-order thinking skills using a simple but rigorous step-by-step process to formulate better questions. They will then use their questions to drive learning.
Source: The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) was created by the Right Question Institute (rightquestion.org). It empowers learners to conceptualize and express their thinking without having to depend primarily on teacher/ facilitator questioning.
- Use the Question Formulation Technique to engage in critical thinking.
- Generate questions, identify types of questions, change questions from one type to another to measure effectiveness, prioritize questions, strategize how they will use their questions, make use of their questions to drive learning.
- Make a recommendation as to how the film could be updated to reflect other ideas or more recent developments.
- Social Studies
- English Language Arts
- Life Sciences
- Green Revolution
- Cultural and Social Change
- 1990s America
- 21st Century
- The Environment and Natural Resources
Introducing the Lesson
In 1994, the “Flavr Savr” tomato made its debut on supermarket shelves across the country, opening the door to the continuing dispute over genetically modified food products.
The Flavr Savr was the first commercially grown, genetically engineered food approved for sale. It was created by a group of scientists at Calgene who set out in the 1980s to create a tasty tomato that didn’t go soft.
Eight years and some $20 million later, the California company found a way to turn off the gene that made tomatoes squishy, and the Flavr Savr was born.
To be safe, Calgene sought approval from the Federal Drug Administration, which eventually ruled the Flavr Savr was as safe as tomatoes bred by traditional methods.
To be transparent, Calgene made sure packages of Flavr Savr tomatoes were labelled as “genetically engineered,” with an 800 number to field customer questions.
The tomatoes gained a lot of initial publicity but the company of bioengineers was poorly equipped to handle the business of actually selling their tomatoes, and eventually sold out to Monsanto.
Monsanto has since become the dominant player in the field of bioengineered foods, but the company’s reluctance to label its products as genetically modified has fueled protests and debates here and abroad.
While genetically-engineered foods are labelled in Europe, they are not required to be labelled in this country.
What questions would you ask if you wanted to update the Retro Report video “GMO Food Fears and the First Test Tube Tomato”?
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
Construct compelling questions, and explain how supporting questions help answer compelling questions in an inquiry.
Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration the different opinions people have about how to answer the questions.
Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration multiple points of views represented in the sources.
Construct compelling questions, and explain how the relationship between supporting questions and compelling questions is mutually reinforcing.
Construct compelling questions, and explain how a question represents key ideas in the field.
Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration multiple points of view represented in the sources, the types of sources available, and the potential uses of the sources.
Explain how supporting questions contribute to an inquiry and how, through engaging source work, new compelling and supporting questions emerge.
Construct compelling questions, and explain how a question reflects an enduring issue in the field.
Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.