The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the International Food Information Council Foundation announced the global launch of Bringing Biotechnology to Life, a free educational resource that aims to facilitate learning about agricultural biotechnology and its role in food production. The new curriculum was unveiled at the World Food Prize 2015 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium.

Bringing Biotechnology to Life is a science-based classroom resource with applicable lessons related to agriculture,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. “This resource is fact- and research-based and has been reviewed by an array of scientists, so the science behind it is very sound.”

“Many consumers do not understand the impact biotechnology makes on agriculture and our lives,” Tesch said. “Our goal is to have this resource provide students with the tools they need to make informed decisions about the practical uses of biotechnology. “

 Noted Kimberly Reed, president of the IFIC Foundation, “We are honored to debut this educational resource at the World Food Prize symposium, where the world’s foremost experts are convened to discuss cutting-edge issues in food security. As we mark the 101st anniversary of the birth of Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the ‘Green Revolution’ and the man who saved a billion lives, we want to engage and inspire students as they consider future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to help us feed our growing planet.”

 The resource includes seven sequential lesson plans for educators which address national learning standards for 7th to 10th grade students. Lessons focus on topics including the following:

  • What is DNA?
  • How can we examine DNA?
  • What is Selective Breeding?
  • What is Biotechnology?
  • The Technology of Life
  • How is Biotechnology Used?
  • How do researchers compare DNA?
  • Where would we be without “GMOs”?

A research and public presentation module also is included to encourage students to take what they have learned and present it to an audience outside the classroom.

Bringing Biotechnology to Life guides the learner through the process of understanding DNA, selective breeding, biotechnology and “GMOs.” Students also are presented with tools to evaluate the reliability of information they see and hear.

Tesch and Reed unveiled the new curriculum at a World Food Prize side event hosted by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) honoring 2015 Borlaug CAST Communication Awardee Dr. Channapatna Prakash, College of Arts and Sciences at Tuskegee University. The Borlaug CAST Communication Award is presented annually by CAST for outstanding achievement by a scientist, engineer, technologist, or other professional working in the agricultural, environmental, or food sectors in contributing to the advancement of science in the public policy arena.

The Bringing Biotechnology to Life learning kit is available for download at no cost online at http://www.foodinsight.org/biotech-curricula or http://www.agfoundation.org/images/uploads/EG_Biotech_Final.pdf.