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Big Idea
Plants play an integral part of life on Earth.
Essential Questions
In what ways do humans depend on plants?
In what ways does human activity impact plant life.
How is bioengineering impacting the study of plants?
How do humans impact the diversity of plants and increase genetic variation by using hybridization and selective breeding?
Identify some of the risks and benefits of using genetically modified food.
What crops are the major food supply for humans and how much is sent outside the USA?

Analyze how specific changes in science have affected society.
Evaluate how the processes of natural ecosystems affect, and are affected by, humans.
Analyze the costs, benefits, and risks of various ways of dealing with the following needs or problems
  • various forms of alternative energy
  • storage of nuclear waste
  • abandoned mines
  • greenhouse gases
  • hazardous wastes
Science & Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.
  • Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (HS-LS4-2),(HS-LS4-4)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Engaging in argument from evidence in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current or historical episodes in science.
  • Evaluate the evidence behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments. (HS-LS4-5)
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs.
  • Communicate scientific information (e.g., about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically). (HS-LS4-1)
Content/Core Ideas
  • Humans depend on plants for food, oxygen, shelter, everything used in daily life.
  • Human activity increases the uses of plant life and human activity can also destroy plant life.
  • Bioengineering is the application and analysis of solutions to problems related to human activity where the structures and functions of living organisms (plants) can be used as models for the design and engineering of materials and machines.
  • Humans create diverse plants using genetic variation with hybridization and selective breeding.
Risks include:
  • Introducing allergens and toxins to food
  • Accidental contamination between genetically modified and non-genetically modified foods
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Adversely changing the nutrient content of a crop
  • Creation of "super" weeds and other environmental risks
Benefits include:
  • Increased pest and disease resistance
  • Drought tolerance
  • Increased food supply
  • U.S. exports supply more than 30% of all wheat, corn, and rice on the global market.    
Learning Practices
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.1a Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Academic Vocabulary
No new vocab
No new vocab
diagnostic equipment
biocompatible materials
renewable bioenergy
ecological engineering
agricultural engineering
selective breeding
recessive disorder
incomplete dominance
No new vocab
Here are SOME ways students can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the essential questions.
  • Students will develop as many advertising slogans as they can that highlight the ways humans depend on plants. (2 hrs)
  • Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing one of the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • Each student will write an article for the local newspaper describing how ASU or UofA are using genetic  engineering to develop and make new products for agriculture, industry, or medicine (describe the process and the benefits).  1 day create a topic, 1 day to research, 1 day to write outline and rough draft, 1 day to finalize
  • ASU biotechnology
  • ASU Life Sciences Research
  • Students will create a poster showing how hybridization and inbreeding has been used to create new plant varieties that will feed people. 1 hr to research  & 1 hr to make poster
    • Alfalfa, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Papaya, Soy, Sugar Beets, Zucchini and Yellow Summer squash.
  • Students will identify the pros & cons of GMF in a classroom debate.