Tuesday, 21 May 2013

SBI3U Grade 11 Biology Neonicotinoid Pesticide Debate

Pesticide use has been an important issue that has led to countless debates around the world. Many pesticides have been banned due to their toxicity and possible links to cancer in humans (e.g. DDT ban, which has led to a comeback in the population of the nearly extinct bald eagle). This post includes an STSE (science, technology, society and the environment) activity designed to engage students in course material by connecting topics with current news. Since I am creating a unit on Plants Anatomy, Function and Growth, I felt that this would be a great opportunity to develop an activity that centers around the ongoing neonicotinoid debate. Neonicotinoids (aka “Neonics”) are neuro-active insecticides (pesticide that is used against insects) that are chemically related to nicotine. They are the first new class of insecticides introduced within the last 50 years. There have been claims that there is a connection between honey bee colony collapse disorder and neonicotinoids. Colony collapse disorder refers to the phenomenon in which worker bees from the colony suddenly disappear or act in peculiar ways (e.g. get lost, bring less food home). This activity puts students in the shoes of each faction of the neonicotinoid argument (e.g. beekeepers, environmental activists, farmers, corporations) by presenting the evidence for a particular purpose related to the best interest of that group (e.g. food safety, money, crop yield). The document can be found by clicking on the link below. A rubric is attached in order to assess/evaluate their debate.

Neonicotinoid Pesticide Debate: Which Side Are You On?