Course: GMO Unit Study

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Course Description

I developed this curriculum for my Girl Scout Gold Award to give a mostly unbiased overview of genetic engineering and genetically modified foods that encourages people to develop their own opinions. The curriculum is a 3 day unit study including materials to cover the scientific, economic, social, and environmental impacts of GMO crops. It also provides an overview of basic genetics to facilitate understanding of more advanced material. Target audience is a high-school level biology class, very advanced middle school students, and home schoolers. Before making the materials available freely on the internet, I conducted a small pilot class and solicit feedback after the class. The pilot class went well, with a background quiz average of 27% jumping to a quiz average of 70%.

Units and Lessons

PDFs Resources: 13

All course material, provided as PDFs

Day 1 Resources: 2

The goal for Day 1 is to review the basics of DNA, including mitosis and meiosis. While it is assumed that students have had some exposure to these concepts at a beginning biology level, mastery is not required for the curriculum. Mendelian Genetics is then introduced, along with Punnett Squares and trait inheritance. The later material on Dihybrid and Trihybrid Crosses can be removed to simplify the lecture as-needed.

Day 2 Resources: 2

The goal for Day 2 is to summarize three popular methods used to genetically modify crops, including the gene gun and CRISPR. A survey of current GMO products, including benefits and concerns, is then provided. This is intended to begin the transition from technical topics to those focused on policy, ethics, and business practices that will be the emphasis of Day 3.

Day 3 Resources: 2

The goal for Day 3 is to complete the unit study, with emphasis on non-technical topics such as public perception, safety, and regulation of GMOs. It is important to separate populist opinion from fact in this area. To that end, supplemental material on recognizing good and bad sources is also provided.


Course Resources

References and Resources.docx  
Discussion Questions.docx  
DNA Extraction Lab.docx  
How to Recognize a Good or Bad Source.docx  
Punnett Squares and Selective Breeding.docx  


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