Harvest of Fear
Intermediate, Commencement, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade
PBS - NOVA
A copy of "Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?" student handout (PDF or HTML )
Access to print and Internet resources
In "Harvest of Fear," FRONTLINE and NOVA explore the intensifying debate over genetically-modified (gm) food crops. Interviewing scientists, farmers, biotech and food industry representatives, government regulators, and critics of biotechnology. This website presents both sides of the debate, exploring the risks and benefits, the hopes and fears, of this new technology. Students are able to answer questions regarding genetically-modified food crops.
NOVA - Harvest of Fear
2 - 45 minutes class periods
To research and debate the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified foods.
- The issues of the safety of and need for genetically modified foods are being hotly debated in the United States, Europe, and other countries. To help students understand this complex issue, tell them they have been appointed to brief a special Food and Drug Administration review board about the pros and cons of genetically modified foods.
- The board wants to know:
Organize students into groups, based on whether they took notes for or against the use of genetically modified foods. Give each group a copy of the "Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?" student handout.
Have students use their notes from the program and additional resources to form their arguments. Once students are finished researching, have them present their findings and final recommendations to the board.
When the debates are over, hold a class discussion about whether students would be willing to eat genetically modified foods and why or why not. To conclude the lesson, have students discuss how the decision whether to allow these foods to be grown should be made and who should be part of the decision-making process.
As an extension, have students survey their peers and adults about genetically modified foods. Why would or wouldn't other people eat them? What are their responses based on?
- All the arguments for allowing the use of genetically modified foods.
- All the arguments against the use of genetically modified foods.
- The potential risks and benefits of genetically modified foods.
- What plants or foods have been allowed or banned in which countries, and why.
- How these foods are different, and how they are the same, as other products currently being sold.
- Whether foods should be allowed if they are labeled, and why.
- Whether some foods should be allowed but not others, and why.
You can have students use the Harvest of Fear
website to gather some of their information.
As an extension, you can have the students go through the interactives on this website. These include: Engineer a Crop
What's for Dinner
Teacher will decide how the students should be graded based on their performance on this activity.