CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: What We Eat

Science, Physical Education
2 to 3 lessons
To obtain an understanding of evidence of genetically modified foods in our daily diet
Students record what they eat, noting all ingredients on the labels for packaged foods for 1 day. They then speculate which foods contain GMOs or are themselves genetically modified.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask the class the question: What problems do farmers have growing plants? Record responses, which should include drought, pests, crop yield. Explain the role of the genes in determining the traits of plants and animals. Explain that we can now change one or more genes of a species directly in order to create a new desired trait in the organism. Tell students that they will be collecting data to get an idea of the possible extent of the use of genetically modified foods or genetically modified organisms in our lives.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students review the clips titled "Identifying genetically modified products", "The 'Flavr Savr' tomato", "The perfect bowl of rice?" and "Introducing the Flavr Savr tomato", on the topic Genetically Modified Food: A Growing Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website.   From the clips have students list all possible genetically modified plants used in the food industry.

Tell students that they will create a summary chart of all the foods they eat for one day. In the summary chart they should list all the ingredients on any packaged or canned food.

Have students review their charts and analyze any food that may be a GMO. They then create a separate list of which products could be, or contain, GMOs.

Revisit and Reflect

Place students in groups of three to create a final summary on chart paper. Students display these around the class and view one another's charts. Gather students and ask: How do you think the issue of GMOs affects your daily diet? What would you like to learn about GMOs?


Students can write an opinion paragraph about whether they feel it is important to know which of our foods contain GMOs. Dedicate part of a period to allow students to read or state their opinions on this topic.

Related Content

Genetically Modified Food: A Growing Debate

Since the introduction of the first genetically modified food, the "Flavr Savr" tomato in 1994...

Is regulation of genetically modified food up...

The country's top scientists weigh in on the safety of GM food.

Food fight over GMO risks

Canadians debate the risks and benefits of genetically modified food.