KORN-TV Newsroom Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan 5

The Story of Corn

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  1. Students will explain how corn production and marketing of corn affects the world food supply.
  2. Students will describe the benefits associated with biotechnology and new agricultural research.
  3. Students will describe how scientific advancements have genetically altered corn species to increase corn production and develop crops that can resist diseases and damaging pests.
  4. Students will explain the role of the Mississippi River in transporting corn from fields in Iowa to countries around the world
  5. Students will investigate why corn yields, fair and open trade policies, and transportation systems are critical for U.S. export of corn to the global marketplace.
  6. Students will identify, explain, and effectively use input, output and storage devices of computers and other technologies (e.g., keyboard, mouse, scanner, monitor, printer, floppy disk, hard drive).
  7. Students will access and retrieve Web-based information and practice note taking strategies during the research process.
  8. Students will utilize search strategies employing keywords such as "biotechnology and corn" when searching agriculture news sources for current information.
  9. Students will take notes and organize a web diagram or Inspiration type flow chart, then storyboard their presentation.
  10. Students will use a variety of productivity tools (e.g., word processing, graphic tools, digital cameras, video camera) for communication, presentation, and illustration of ideas (e.g., posters and multimedia presentation.)

Activity Summary

Students will pretend that they are a team of news writers at KORN-TV. The news director has asked the team to research information about genetically engineered corn and the impact of biotech food products on the world's food supply.

Teams of students will research how biotechnology has increased corn production to meet the demand for additional food and energy as the world's population grows. Students will prepare a presentation for the newsroom staff to determine if this would be a good feature story for the weekend show.

Students will present their findings to the class in a video presentation, PowerPoint presentation or oral presentation aided by a poster.

Step 1

Teams of students will complete a K-W-L-H chart prior to reading the background information and assigning research questions.

Step 2

Students will read information on Web sites, record notes and source information on note cards. Students may work in pairs or teams to organize information that reports their research findings. Note cards will be used to create a graphic organizer that visually organizes the key points in the research information, and when writing the storyboard and script.

Step 3

Teams will use a video camera to film a presentation describing the benefits and problems of genetically engineered corn. At the end of the video students will recommend whether the director should go ahead with this topic as a feature story.

Each team will assign production roles and tasks such as:

  • Writers - Compile the information and write text for the presentation.
  • Designers - Design a storyboard or rough sketch of the presentation
  • Graphic Artists - Design the graphics for the presentation
  • Camera Person - Films the oral presentations
  • Editor - Edits the video presentation

Peer Review

Students will evaluate peers' presentations using the following evaluation questions:

  1. How well are the conclusions supported by data and facts?
  2. Is the argument convincing? What made you think so?
  3. If you were the television director, how would you vote after hearing this presentation? Why?


Evaluation Rubric

Tips For Teachers

An extensive list of Web sites is available to students in the Webliography. Students may need assistance in selecting materials that are most appropriate to their reading level.

The videos may be shown again at a learning station and as part of Technology Night presentations.

If video presentations are not possible in your classroom, alternative final projects might include a class debate, skit or mock news broadcast called, "Newsroom - Your Say."

Extension Activity

Ask an Expert Biotech Questions:
Mr. Mike Zeller, Biotechnology Outreach Education Coordinator, Iowa State University phone toll-free in Iowa 1-800-643-9504, or e-mail [email protected]

Dr. Gary Comstock, Coordinator of Iowa State University's Bioethics Program, phone 515-294-0054, or e-mail [email protected]

Teacher Resources

Using Graphic Organizers

Visual Learning Using Inspiration®
Describes how concept maps and story webs assist students in visually structuring ideas and relationships between concepts and visual brainstorming tools for developing writing plans and problem solving.

Electronic Graphic Organizers: Are They for You?
Describes how graphic organizers can be used for powerful learning experiences. Gives examples of three and describes applications to the online environment.

The templates under the categories Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Teacher Planning, and Thinking Tools include bubble diagrams, tree maps, flow maps, Venn diagrams, and other structures for students to use when organizing information into an outline or concept map.

Planning a Presentation

Developing an Outline

Production Storyboard Examples

Designing PowerPoint Slides

PowerPoint in the Classroom

Technology for Teachers - PowerPoint Tutorial

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