Students will be able to...
- Evaluate the pros and cons of cell-based/lab-grown meat.
- Assess the environmental costs of a heavy meat-based diet.
- Evaluate the pros and cons of genetically engineered salmon.
- Define ethical consumption.
- Identify the impact of their daily food consumption.
- Assess their place in the global chain of consumption.
- Evaluate and define next steps for practicing ethical food consumption.
- Discuss with a friend what you know about the following topics: cell-based/lab-grown meat, genetically engineered foods, and ethical consumption.
- Discuss with a friend what you are most curious to learn about when it comes to the following topics: cell-based/lab-grown meat, genetically engineered foods, and ethical consumption.
Introducing the Lesson:
Can we create a nutritious and affordable food system in a way that’s green and fair? This essential question is at the crux of this lesson. We will also explore the environmental and human costs of our current food consumption habits.
Introducing the Reporting:
After watching the PBS NewsHour segment, “California Startups Are Growing Meat from Animal Cells”:
- Create a T-chart identifying the primary arguments for and against producing and consuming cell-based/lab-grown meat.
- Analyze the experts profiled in the video for point of view. Discuss with a partner how the following individuals’ careers inform their perspectives on cell-based meats: Barbara Kowalcyk, Kevin Kester, Vitor Santor, Josh Tetrick, Amy Tu, Uma Valeti.
- Which expert, Barbara Kowalcyk, Kevin Kester, Vitor Santor, Josh Tetrick, Amy Tu, Uma Valeti, do you agree with most? Why? Discuss in small groups.
- Discuss the term ethical consumption in a whole-class setting. Ask students to evaluate the extent to which cell-based meat is an example of ethical consumption.
After watching the PBS NewsHour segment, “Future of Food: This Genetically Engineered Salmon May Hit U.S. Markets As Early As 2020”
- Create a T-chart identifying the primary arguments for and against producing and consuming genetically engineered salmon.
- Analyze the experts profiled on the video for point of view. Discuss with a partner how the following individuals’ careers inform their perspective on cell-based meats: Ron Stotish, Sharon Labchuk, Lisa Murkowski, Yonathan Zohar.
- Which expert (Ron Stotish, Sharon Labchuk, Lisa Murkowski, or Yonathan Zohar) do you agree with most? Why? Discuss in small groups.
- Discuss the term ethical consumption in a whole-class setting. Evaluate the extent to which genetically engineered salmon is an example of ethical consumption.
Option 1: Assess your daily food consumption and global connectivity.
- Record everything you ate in a single day. If you ate something with multiple ingredients, record all of those ingredients as well. Save the packaging.
- Consider the possible place of origin for all of the foods that you ate. Consider the number of people around the world that helped create the food you consumed, from the farm worker to the trucker to the grocery store attendant.
- Conduct research. Read your food labels. Where did the food originate? Use credible sources on the Internet, read reports, reach out to companies. Make phone calls and send emails and record everything on a spreadsheet or document.
- Upon completion of the research, create a 3-D model that illustrates where all of your food in a single day originates. Be creative! Wow us! Create the map or globe from start to finish. Avoid using a map/globe purchased at a store or found online. The 3-D models will be displayed so that others may learn from your research.
Option 2: Analyze an environmental or human rights issue connected with food.
- Choose one food item or ingredient on which you will conduct in-depth analysis. Use credible online sources, books, and teachers to uncover any possible issues. What are the geo-political issues surrounding it? What are the human rights issues surrounding it? Does it originate in a region of conflict? Research how it plays a role in that conflict. Is it a major or minor part of the region’s economy? How has its role in the economy and society changed over time? How has it remained the same? What is its role in relationship with the government of that region? What environmental issues surround it?
- Create a YouTube video, poster, PowerPoint, Prezi, etc. to teach us about your research and analysis. You should also include your “Call to Action” information (details in step 3).
- Call to action. What are you doing to ameliorate the issues that you uncovered during your research? What can your classmates do to improve the situation? Think about utilizing the following: Social media, letters and emails to elected officials, letters and emails to business and organizations that are responsible or involved with the issue, etc. At the conclusion of this project, many of your classmates may follow your advice and write, email, tweet, blog, and post about your issue, so make sure you have the correct names, addresses, email addresses, etc. for us.
Consider conducting a gallery walk wherein students’ 3-D globe/map models are on display all around the classroom. Encourage students to observe similarities and differences among the 3-D globes/maps. Finish the class with a whole-class discussion on the environmental cost of a single day of our food consumption. This activity sets solid groundwork before students present on the human rights or environmental issues they uncovered during their research.