What’s in our food? Unit plan


                                     UNIT PLAN Ideas for 10th Grade Biology: What’s in our food?


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 Overview of unit:  Students will become aware of what is in their food, where this food comes from, why this is important, what Tacoma is doing to become a healthier city, what they can do as students to become proactive and inform others.  The use of a class blog will be the technology used for this student.  The end result will hopefully be a resource where students and parents can learn more about what is in their food and how this relates to the local community.  

Explanation of technology use (more information about the technology use click here):

  • A blog is a way for students to post individually; share resources with other students; communicate in an effective and timely way with other students/teacher; the sole purpose is a collective resource for students and parents
  • Using a blog is a way for students to see the process that it takes not only for themselves but for others in conveying information; importance of a blog to students; organize research
  • Structure and mini-lessons: use of a blog, do’s and let go’s of a blog (respect/ethics), posting/submitting work, saving work, comments, research (example/non-examples), use librarian for support!, analyzing/questioning research, constructing an argument

Activity types: Read text, attend to presentation, take notes, discuss, explore topic, analyze data, develop prediction/hypothesis, make connections, observe, respond to questions, create an image (drawing or photography), present or demonstrate, debate, create a blog

Examples of how the activity types would look in this unit:

  •  Take notes (building conceptual knowledge): a way for students to organize information in their groups or individual
  • Discuss (building conceptual knowledge): Students support/respond to other groups; provide additional networking information for groups; discuss positives/challenges/goals
  • Explore a topic/conduct background research (building conceptual knowledge): post information about topic
  • Organize/classify data AND analyze data (building conceptual knowledge): with group members students go over findings, discuss relevancy, connections to science/daily lives
  • Learn and practice safety procedures (procedural knowledge): students learn the ins/outs of the technology they are using; how to react/discuss with other students on the site in a community based manner
  • practice (procedural knowledge): use the website doing a little scavenger hunt
  • Respond to questions (knowledge expression): respond to questions other students have posed
  • Present (knowledge expression): Go over what it means to present, why it is important; how to present a website, what would make it interesting/compelling for the observer/reader;
  • Create (knowledge expression): students create there own blog based from the wordpress about their topic

Time Frame for this unit including potential ecosystem extension: 3-4 weeks

Standard using Next Generation HS: HS-ETS-ETSS Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society: Construct or critique arguments based on evidence concerning the costs, risks, and benefits of changes in major technological systems related to agriculture, health, water, energy, transportation, manufacturing, or construction, needed to support a growing world population. [Clarification Statement: For example, students construct arguments concerning the costs and benefits of shifting from centralized to distributed energy generation systems or natural to genetically engineered crops.] [Assessment Boundary: Limited to relative comparison of costs and benefits of different technological changes.]

Language Demands, Vocabulary and function words: genetically modified organism,examine, analyze, interpret, justify, cause and effect, costs/benefit analysis, integrate, relationships, create

Overarching understandings, infusing science and technology:

  • Students will understand the role of agriculture, technology, health, manufacturing, transportation in order to support a growing world population.
  • Students will analyze the role of technology in agriculture on a local and global scale. 
  • Students will see the relationships between the food industry in the Tacoma community.  
  • Students will become analyzers and critical thinkers that are transferable tools to other disciplines and life skills.

As a result of this lesson and getting to the goal of the overarching understandings, SWBT: 

  • Students will be able to identify specific reasons behind the usage of genetically modified organisms in the school and greater Tacoma community.
  • Students will be able to understand the cost and benefit analysis of genetically modified organisms.
  • Students will be able to analyze the role of agriculture in food consumption choices.
  • Students will be able to begin to understand the health factors with natural or GMO foods.
  • Students will be able to analyze how food choices affects their Tacoma community and school.
  •  Students will compare and contrast local vs. global food.  What does it mean?  Do we need both?
  • Students will be able to use a blog on the computer.
  • Students will be able to decipher research that is factual, and important to their research topic.
  • Students will be able to analyze research for validity.
  • Students will be able to facilitate group discussions around genetically modified foods.
  • Students will learn how to speak in front of a public audience.
  • Students will learn how to create and ask food professionals questions about their research topic.
  • Students will be able to produce a website for parents and students at the school to see what they are eating in the cafeteria;where the food comes from; and if it is genetically modified
  • Importance of knowing this information
  • How it pertains to health, environment and the Tacoma community
  • Students will take visual pictures or drawings of the local Tacoma community engaging with planting own food.

Big unit questions students will be unpacking:

  •  What’s in our food?  Why does it matter?  Does it matter?
  • What are genetically modified organisms?
  • Why are we using this form of technology (blog) to convey information?
  • How does the Tacoma community grow food?  Local verse global?
  • What can we do to make our bodies and Tacoma a beautiful place? Community gardens,informing people, etc?

Teacher questions in order to prepare students:

  • How will students become decision makers?
  • What tools do I as a teacher need to help students develop to become decision makers and analyzers?
  • How will students challenge the information they are receiving?
  • How will inquiry based science be beneficial for this over all unit?
  • What support do I need to give students with using technology?
  • What support do I need as a teacher (help from others)?
  • How does this unit connect students to the Tacoma community in an authentic way?

References for teacher:  

Live links of edublogs:

Teacher technology resource websites:

GMO resources (:

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