Armour’s AHS bio/English course along with our math counterpart visited A Tail for Tales Taxidermist to gain a greater understanding of the design cycle along with a lesson on how content areas can not be contained within a single classroom. Thank you Larry Wold—you are the best.
Students in a problem based classroom are often presented with a conundrum they didn’t know they had until a question is asked. Although Armour, SD is a rural, agrarian area many students weren’t aware that GMOs affected their individual lives as much as they do. Many of our students had knowledge of the infiltration of GMOs in the daily food supply and the affect on the family farm, but many were simply not informed about either side of the debate.
So, why GMOs? It’s relevant to their lives today. It’s a concern in the media and markets across the world. In science it allows students to examine the natural plant, the genetic structure, the manipulation of the DNA, the workings of a plant, among other things. In math, they can focus on the financial side of our food supply, cost of raising genetically modified crops, how many more bushels can be obtained at what cost, etc. And in English they have to analyze research and biased sources as well as the debate we held in class. History plays a part with that ever present question: What will happen if and what happened before: the law of unintended consequences.
Nothing makes a teacher’s heart swell than when a student says: “I never thought about that before.” It’s a phrase that shows a student’s critical thinking and application to their own lives.
The town hall debate and all classes can be viewed on YouTube by searching for South Dakota Innovation Lab. The GMO link demonstrates what our students can do without direct instruction and some guidance by the side.
Last Friday, students at Armour HS, SD debated the pros and cons of GMOs amongst themselves, and with an authentic virtual audience of educators and agriculturalists. Students spend the two-week long unit researching information, completing foundational assignments, building, evaluating, and modifying their arguments.