Would you allow the growing of genetically modified plants in your country?
Original design team: Cyprus University of Technology
Intended student ages: 15-17 years old
Languages of the LE: Greek, English, Hebrew
Length of the enactment: Seven, 90-minute lessons
Topics covered: Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental sciences, GMOs
Scenario: You have been asked to participate in a Cyprus-wide scientific board to decide whether the Cyprus government should allow the growing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), specifically genetically modified (GM) soybeans and canola. Before you decide you need to review scientific data on genetically modified (GM) crops and their effect on three areas: the environment, economy and health. At the moment, the European Commission imports a large number of GMOs but does not grow as much on European land. Soybeans and canola are very important products for economy and health as they are used for human consumption, and as a feed for animals. Canola is also used in industry as biofuel while soybeans are used for producing vitamins and antibiotics. There are strong opinions both for and against GMOs. You need to act soon. Your decision is very important. Examine data on the effect of GM plants on the environment, economy and health to give an evidence-based answer to the following question: “Would you allow the growing of GM plants in your country?”
Classroom enactments: The web-based inquiry learning environment (LE) “Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms” was first piloted (first enactment) in an eleventh grade class (n= 12) over eleven 90-minute lessons. The LE was then redesigned, refined and re-enacted (second enactment) with a different eleventh grade class (n= 21) over eight 90-minute lessons. During the third enactment, the LE “ Nicotine Addiction” developed by the Ben Gurion University of the Negev was translated in Greek and enacted in an eleventh grade class (n=21) over seven 90-minute lessons.
Pre and Post tests were administered to the participating students throughout the CoReflect project indicating the effectiveness of the intervention during the first, second and third enactment. First Enactment: Statistically significant results on conceptual understanding from pre- to post-tests Z(12)=-2.91, p<.01, effect size:0.59. Students’ performance in the open-ended questions measuring credibility skills indicated statistically significant differences from pre- to post-tests Z(12)=3.09, p<.01, effect size:0.63. Second Enactment: Statistically significant results from pre- to post- tests on conceptual understanding t (17) = -2, 60, p=.019, d=.61 and credibility skills as measured by the open-ended questions t (17) = -5.97. p=.001 d=1.40 and the 22-item scale t (14) = -5.27, p=.001, d= 1.36 were found. Third Enactment: Students’ performance on scientific thinking content knowledge (i.e., placebo and control groups) significantly increased from pre- to post tests, t (18) =-2.15, p=.045.
Interviews with students were conducted by the end of the third enactment. They were focused on students’ experience during the second and third enactments. Indicative quotes follow: “STOCHASMOS was very useful because we could search into different pages where we could find information about studies and what they found and then we could write down in another page our comments…it was very interesting and easy. I liked a lot the fact that we could write down our thoughts and believes what was wrong and what right …I really liked it.” (Student 3)
- Dr. Eleni A. Kyza, Principal investigator, Lecturer, e-mail address
- Link to the LWG website.
- Download a one-page leaflet here.
- Please cite the teacher's guide as: Nicolaidou, I., Kyza, E. A, Hadjichambis, A., Kafouris, D., & Terzian, F. (2009). Biotechnology and genetically modified organisms. [Teacher’s Guide]. Retrieved from http://www.coreflect.org
- Please cite the learning environment as: Nicolaidou, I., Kyza, E. A, Hadjichambis, A., Kafouris, D., & Terzian, F. (2009). Biotechnology and genetically modified organisms. [Computer software]. Cyprus: Cyprus University of Technology. Retrieved from http://www.coreflect.org.