KORN-TV Newsroom

Activity 5

The Story of Corn

exploring the prairie module icon


Measuring maize
Corn production has increased rapidly over the past decade to meet the demand for additional food as the world's population grows. One major change has been the dramatic use of biotechnology to increase corn yields and develop crops that can resist diseases and damaging pests.

KORN-TV Special Report

You are working with a team of writers at KORN-TV, a national television news show. Your television show has a large audience and a reputation for presenting balanced discussions.

Recent news reports about genetically engineered corn have attracted your director's attention. Your director has asked you to research corn production in Iowa and the latest developments in biotech food products.

Inspecting grain collected from this combine's grain flow sensor
You will meet with the newsroom staff next week to discuss the results of your research and discuss whether this would be a good feature story.


To guide your investigation, your director provided a list of questions for you to research:

  1. How was hybrid seed corn developed? Why was that so important?
  2. What scientific advances have helped farmers increase corn production?
  3. What benefits are associated with biotechnology and new agricultural research?
Chemist Kevin Hicks examines a sample of corn fiber oil for color and quality.
  1. Who reaps the benefits?
  2. What specific issues have been raised by high tech corn production? Determine which are most important and why.
  3. What are Iowan's (e.g., private farmers, industry groups, local and state agencies) doing to address these issues?
  4. What role does Iowa's corn production play in the world food supply? What is the general reputation of Iowa's corn exports?
  5. What are the differing viewpoints about biotechnology and food production? How do other countries feel about the possibility of receiving genetically modified food?
  6. How is corn transported from fields in Iowa to countries around the world?
  7. Why are corn yields, fair and open trade policies, and transportation systems critical for U.S. export of corn to the global marketplace?


You will work with a team of students to complete your investigation and prepare a video for your KORN-TV news report. You may include PowerPoint slides with information or posters providing important information. Include answers to the questions and your opinion about whether the story should be produced and why.

  1. Carefully read over the list of questions your director has provided and divide the questions with members of your research team.
  2. Review the list of Internet resources and description of each Web site. This will help you decide where to begin your research.
  3. Search agriculture news sources for current information using the words "corn" and "biotechnology and corn":
  4. Read the information on the Web sites, record notes and source information on notecards.
  5. Organize your notecard information using a storyboard.
  6. Develop a video to share with your director and the newsroom staff. Include background information and details to support your opinion using PowerPoint slides or posters during your video.
  7. Show your video presentation to the class. After each team has a turn, discuss which arguments were most compelling and why? In the end, would your class recommend that the director go ahead with this as a feature story?

Internet Resources

Corn Webliography


Your project evaluation will assess how you support your conclusion, the effectiveness of your presentation, teamwork and collaboration with your peers.

Complete a written reflection after the presentation answering the following questions:

  1. What have you learned from preparing this video production?
  2. What obstacles or problems occurred as you created your presentation?
  3. What changes would you make to improve the video?

Photos used by permission from the USDA Online Photography Center.

camp silos

Submit Feedback

Report Issue / Broken Link