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Canadian Agriculture at a Glance Teacher's Kit > Lesson plans

Lesson: A science-fiction harvest

View the article (PDF)
Curriculum connections
Notes to teacher
Teaching and learning strategies
Assessment/evaluation strategies
Accommodation and enrichment strategies
Links to other activities
Suggestions for further research


The issue of biotechnology in agriculture has generated much debate. This activity is designed to help students better understand biological systems for producing materials and their advantages over synthetic systems.

Curriculum connections


  • demonstrates an understanding of the diversity of agricultural endeavours in Canada
  • identifies the human factors that affect food production.

Family Studies/Home Economics

  • demonstrates an understanding of biotechnology and agricultural products
  • describes new technology and products related to agriculture.


  • recognizes that scientific knowledge has evolved and that technology has played a major role in this process
  • describes scientific and technological developments and teaches an appreciation of their effect on individuals and society.

Notes to teacher

This unit, which corresponds to the chapter "The Leading Edge" in the book, can be taught as co-operative group work, focusing on change and its impact on agriculture and our lives as consumers (PDF).

Teaching and learning strategies

  1. Students read the article "A science-fiction harvest" on pages 277 to 284 in Canadian Agriculture at a Glance (PDF).
  2. Students brainstorm about the kinds of products that can be developed from agricultural products. (See "There's a pig in your closet" for other ideas.)
  3. Students complete the chart in the worksheet.
  4. Students make a poster to highlight one of the processes they read about in the article.
  5. Students add terminology to their glossaries.

Assessment/evaluation strategies

  1. Assess worksheets for completion and accuracy.
  2. Evaluate posters.
  3. Assess glossaries for accuracy and completion.

Accommodation and enrichment strategies

  1. Some students may require assistance in order to complete written work.
  2. Students with special needs may work with a partner to complete a task.
  3. Templates for note-taking should be provided to students with special needs.
  4. Main ideas and/or new information should be mapped out and organized to meet the needs of all students.
  5. Wherever possible, vocabulary lists should be provided with a discussion of context clues and related vocabulary.
  6. Students with special needs may wish to complete an oral, taped or video presentation rather than a written assignment.
  7. For enrichment, students can research other biological system technologies and present their findings to the class.

Links to other activities

This activity is linked to:

Suggestions for further research

  • Students consult Environment Canada or Health Canada for regulations or use current websites for departments such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that list new products.
  • Students can research how biotechnology is improving medical science.
  • Students can use 2001 Census of Agriculture data in E-STAT for data analysis, graphing and mapping activities for specific geographic areas of local interest.

Please send comments or examples of how you used this lesson in your class to Learning Resources.

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Date modified: 2008-05-20 Important Notices