Lesson 1- What is DNA? Extraction of Banana DNA
Purpose: The structure of a DNA molecule is impossible to see with the naked eye, however if you could remove DNA from a pile of your cells you would see a heap of it.
Materials: 4 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol, one banana, one quart sized zip top plastic bag, one liquid measuring cup, one fourth cup of distilled water, two tablespoons of distilled water, measuring spoons, 2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap, 2 small plastic cups, one half teaspoon of salt, one craft stick, one coffee filter, a rubber band, a thin drinking glass and a bamboo skewer. Procedure: In order for this to work, the alcohol needs to be very cold. Put the bottle of rubbing alcohol into the freezer for one or two hours before beginning. Next, peel the banana and put half of it into a zip top plastic bag. Measure and add one fourth cup of water to the bag. Seal the bag and mash the banana and water mixture for three minutes. Be sure you are left with a smooth paste. Measure and pour in the dishwashing soap into one of the plastic cups. Measure and add the salt and two tablespoons of water to the cup. Stir slowly with a craft stick until everything is well mixed and the salt is dissolved. Try to avoid bubbles as much as possible. Then measure and add 2 teaspoons of the water/ mashed banana mixture to the soap solution. Stir slowly for five minutes. Place a coffee filter on the top of another plastic cup and allow the filter to dip into the cup without touching the bottom. Place a rubber band at the top of the filter to secure it in place. Lastly, pour the banana/ soap mixture into the coffee filter. After 10 minutes remove the filter and add two teaspoons of the liquid into the drinking glass. Using the alcohol from the freezer, pour it down the side of the jar. The alcohol will make a layer on the top of the banana /soap mixture. After about five minutes a white jelly-like substance should form between the layers. Use the bamboo skewer to scoop up the jelly-like substance, otherwise known as the banana's DNA! Conclusion: All living things contain DNA in their cells. Although an individual DNA cell is too small to see, when many clump together you can actually pick it up. Because a banana has billions of cells, mashing it can help break them apart and with the help of other chemicals, DNA can be extracted.
Lesson 2- From Seed to Supermarket
Purpose: Students will consider the prevalence of genetically modified seeds in the food supply, determine the relationship between biodiversity and food security and select the three most important benefits and controversies related to GMO's and write an opinion/ position paper supporting their ideas with evidence. Materials: Computer that allows access to online video clips. Procedure: Hook the children by having them view a 10 minute clip entitled "From seed to Supermarket." The clip can be found here:www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIOGBkxurb. Students should take notes on the concerns surrounding genetically modified seeds. Following the clip, discuss the following talking points: "When companies invested resources in developing genetic material, should they have the right to patent it? Why or why not? How might keeping seeds in the public domain affect biotechnology? What happens when genetically modified seeds fail or become vulnerable to certain pests or crop disease?Conclusion: Students should review the lists of benefits and concerns of genetically modified seeds and explain the significance of the factors in their position paper. As an extension students can also explore the issue with food labeling and write a position paper about eating foods that have been genetically modified but are not properly labeled. Adapted from "The Impact of Genetically Modified Foods (http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/lessonplan3.php)
Lesson 3 - GMO Seed Investigation Purpose
GMOs, or 'Genetically Modified Organisms,' are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. Nearly all GMOs are engineered to withstand herbicide and/or to produce insecticide. Despite what the industry promises, many GMO traits currently on the market, do not enhance nutrition or provide any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, some evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violates farmers' and consumers' rights. We want to know what type of plant, genetically modified or wild type is healthier for human consumption and the environment? Materials: Six 11 cm. planters, Six 25 cm. planters, Thirty genetically modified soybean seeds, Thirty genetically modified corn seeds, Thirty wild soybean seeds, Thirty wild corn seeds, Three bags of sterile potting soil Rulers (class set), Hand Lens (class set), Measuring Scale in grams, Plastic Wrap, Sun Lamp, Water Safe Test Kit, Soil Testing Kit. Procedure: 1) Observe and record observations of the genetically modified soybeans and corn seeds with a hand lens. 2) Observe and record observations of the wild type soybeans and corn seeds with a hand lens. 3) Trace, measure and weigh the seeds and record data. 4) Soak the soybeans in warm water for 30 minutes, prior to planting. 5) Label three 6 cm pots "GMO" and three 6 cm pots "WT" (wild type.)6) Test the soil and water quality prior to planting, using the water safe test kit ( lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrites, nitrates, chlorine, hardness and PH) and healthy soil test kit (PH, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.) 7) Fill the six 6cm pots with potting soil 8) Label three 6 cm pots "GMO soybean" and three 6 cm pots "WT soybean" (wild type.) 9) Label one 11cm pot with "GMO corn " and one 11 "WT corn" 10) Fill the two 11 cm pots with potting soil 11) Poke a hole about 4cm down in each of the pots. 12) Place two 13) GMO soybeans in each hole in each of the three pots.14) Place two WT soybeans in each hole in each of the three pots.15) Place two GMO corn seeds in each hole in one pot. 16) Place two WT corn seeds in each hole in one pot.17) Cover all plants with soil and pat down 18) Feed each soybean plant will 100 ml of water.19) Feed each corn plant with 200 ml of water. 20) Cover the plants with plastic wrap. 21) Place the plants under a "sun" lamp. 22) Observe growth and quality of plant. 23) Test the soil and water quality after 16 weeks of growth, using the water safe test kit ( lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrites, nitrates, chlorine, hardness and PH) and healthy soil test kit (PH, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.) 24) Record Data and Results, Formulate Conclusions. Conclusion: Students will record and graph data throughout their observations of the plant growth as they test their hypothesis in relation to the purpose of this experiment. Through this experiment students should note that the growth of the genetically modified seeds is faster and appears stronger, but after 16 weeks changes in the water and soil testing will occur. Extension: Following this experiment, students can further investigate how GMOs put our ecosystem at risk. Students can create 2 ecosystems within separate terrariums where students can compare and contrast how genetically modified seeds/ foods affects the living organisms that surround it
Students can use organic
heirloom tomatoes including their seeds in the GMO free terrarium and use non organic tomatoes in the other. Tomatoes that have been genetically modified usually will not reproduce because they are intentionally bred to not give off many seeds so to keep the crop in need for commercial reasons. Students can be creative in their choice of living organisms from leaf matter and red worms to crickets or even a snake.
This lesson has been adapted and changed from another experiment "May The Best Plant Win" found at http://www.sciencebuddies.org.
Lesson 4: Evaluating Information on Food Labels
This lesson plan utilizes the film and POV's website resources for Food, Inc., a documentary that examines food in the United States and the industry that produces it. Students can use these materials to explore what consumers should be able to learn about food from Nutrition Facts panels. Students' eyes will be opened at the amount of food that contains the hidden ingredient, CORN! This is especially important given that corn is one of the most highly genetically modified vegetable. Objectives: Students will use viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret a film clip, identify corn-derived ingredients listed on Nutrition Facts panels of food packaging, analyze and discuss what details should be provided on Nutrition Facts panels and develop personal philosophy statements about what consumers should be able to learn about their food from Nutrition Facts panels. Handout that lists all the ingredients that contain corn: Alpha tocopherol, Ascorbic acid, Baking powder, Calcium stearate, Caramel, Cellulose, Citric Acid, Citrus cloud emulsion, Corn flour, Corn oil, Cornstarch, Corn syrup, Dextrin, Dextrose (glucose), Diglycerides, Ethylene, Ethyl acetate, Ethyl lactate, Fibersol-2, Fructose, Fumaric acid, Gluten, Golden syrup, High fructose corn syrup, Inositol, Invert sugar, Malt, Maltodextrin, Margarine, Monoglycerides, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), Polydextrose, Saccharin, Semolina, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitol, Starch, Sucrose, Treacle, Vanilla extract, White vinegar, Xanthan gum, Xylitol, Zein. Procedure: Hook the students by viewing the film clip- Clip from Food, Inc.: "A Cornucopia of Choices" (length 4:55) This clip can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xThSnJb8miQ Teachers should view the film first to make sure it is grade level appropriate. You can always have the students listen only to the sound for the information as well. 1. For this activity, ask each student in advance to bring in a food container or a food label that has a Nutrition Facts panel on it.2. Begin the activity either by showing the class an image of a cheeseburger, French fries and a milkshake or by placing the real thing on a table at the front of the classroom. Ask students what these three foods have in common. Let students share their ideas, and then explain that they are all made with or from corn. The meat comes from corn-fed cattle, the bun and condiments contain high fructose corn syrup and the fries are cooked in corn oil. Even the shake contains corn syrup solids and cellulose gum derived from corn. Often, people will order a soft drink with a burger instead of a milkshake, and soft drinks, too, contain high fructose corn syrup. In fact, a study of fast food published by the National Academy of Sciences found that 160 food products purchased at Wendy's restaurants across the United States all contained some form of corn.3. Explain that many of the foods available at the grocery store also contain corn. Then, show the film clip. Set up the clip by telling students that Michael Pollan is an author who has written books about the U.S. food industry.4. Display or distribute the list of corn-derived ingredients provided in the Materials section of this lesson plan. Have groups of three or four students examine the ingredients listed on their food packaging and make a list of any corn-based ingredients they find. If an ingredient is found on more than one package, students can add tally marks next to that ingredient on the list. Ask a member of each group to report that group's findings to the class.5. Discuss: Which corn-derived ingredients are most commonly found in the sample of foods examined in class? What kinds of food typically contain ingredients derived from corn? Do students consider these foods "healthy"? Why or why not? How frequently do students eat these foods? How do students feel about the idea that corn has been "hiding" in these foods, often behind different names? How frequently do students read the Nutrition Facts panels on the foods they eat? How much do students want to know about the ingredients in their food? Who should decide what information is provided on food labels? Consumers? The government? The food industry? 6. Conclude the activity by challenging students to write individual personal philosophy statements about what consumers should be able to learn about their food from Nutrition Facts panels. Extensions; Learn more about your school's cafeteria food. Develop a class set of standards to measure the quality of school lunch. Conduct an informal study that examines how menu labeling affects our eating choices. Prepare two sets of fast-food menus with a variety of typical fast-food items plus pictures, prices and names for each. On one set of menus, also show the related calories for each item. Invite some other classes or a group of students in the cafeteria to look at a menu and circle the foods they would choose for themselves. Then, analyze the resulting data and form conclusions. This lesson plan has been adapted from http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/lessonplan1.php#resources