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Thomas Ponders Genetically Engineered Food



Thomas Ponders Genetically Engineered Food
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cross-pollinate, frost-sensitive, herbicide, herbicide-resistant, nitty-gritty, nutrient-filled, blueprint, mutation, finding, best, productive, organism, genetic, purpose, failure, tested
     content words:    Flavr Savr, Roundup Ready, Uncle John, Uncle Phil


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Thomas Ponders Genetically Engineered Food
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Thomas grew up on a working family farm. From the day he was born, he learned about fields, crops, and animals from his father and his uncles - all of whom shared the large property. Thomas could tell you all the nitty-gritty details. As he aged, he learned more and questioned just as much.
 
2     To Thomas, farming was hard work but basic in nature. You needed the right soil, the right climate, the right starting product, and so on. He knew the right starting product often came from the best seed. In fact, farmers have known that for the last 10,000 years. All this time, farmers knew to keep the seeds from the best crop of one season and plant those saved seeds the next year hoping for the same or better results. Thomas knew farmers had discovered how to cross-pollinate. By mixing plants with the best traits, they tried to create an even better plant. Of course, sometimes that worked out great and sometimes it didn't. For example, one might end up with a fruit that has a great color but an awful taste.
 
3     Thomas' father and uncles spoke a lot about the future of farming. Thomas listened carefully to the arguments on each side. What could there be to argue about? Well, some people think genetically engineered food is the wave of the future.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Create a chart of pros and cons of genetically engineered foods.

2.  Research one genetically engineered food. Write a page about how it was changed.

3.  Research the FDA's opinion on genetically engineered food. Summarize your findings.

4.  Draw a poster on genetic improvements you would make to one fruit or one vegetable if you were able.



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