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Microorganisms in the 21st Century (part 2)

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CHIN, Gatineau, Quebec

Sir, there's a microorganism in my soup! (part 2)
This next lesson (part 2) is designed to be a hands-on lesson describing the ways in which humans have benefited from microorganisms. The lesson focuses first on the use of microorganisms in food production, followed by a focus on agricultural and medicinal applications.

This lesson should cover roughly 1 class period and should be supported by any additional class references (textbooks, teacher notes, etc...). It is best suited for Grade 11/12 or Secondary 5/CEGEP Biology and Food Nutrition courses, but it may also be incorporated into classes on Human Health .

Enjoy!
Microorganisms and Food Production
Microorganisms have always been an important part of food and drink production around many cultures and throughout many periods of history. The three links listed will bring you to CHIN webpages complete with information and pictures for three sets of examples. The first link describes the use and production of yeast, bread and yogurt; the second describes the production on kefir, cheese, and wine; and the third link describes the production of beer, fermented sausages, and sauerkraut.
Suggested Activity
This has the 'recipe' to be a fun and engaging lesson! My suggestion would be to start the class by having stations set up around the room with information about each type of food. You could even bring in samples for your students to try! Create a worksheet with questions and missing information and have your students search and find the answers from each station. After 10 - 15 minutes, either have students pair up and compare answers or go through the questions as a class.

It may be interesting to include cultural examples of these foods' use. Sauerkraut, for instance, is part of some great European traditions. If any students have family recipes for any of these categories of food, have them bring a sample in. That way, your students will feel that much more engaged with the material!
Biotechnology - attention, microorganisms at work! Yeast, Bread and Yogurt
Some microorganisms convert or fabricate products for human consumption while others contribute to improving the quality of the environment.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Biotechnology - attention, microorganisms at work! Kefir, Cheese and Wine
Some microorganisms convert or fabricate products for human consumption while others contribute to improving the quality of the environment.
View the Learning Object

Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Biotechnology - attention, microorganisms at work! Beer, Fermented Sausages, and Saurekraut
Some microorganisms convert or fabricate products for human consumption while others contribute to improving the quality of the environment.
View the Learning Object

Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Microorganisms benefiting Modern Humans
Next, students will have the opportunity to learn more about how microorganisms have benefited humans through the use of biotechnologies.

The first two resources describe how the use of microorganisms and its genetic makeup have been used to improve agricultural practices. It is more related to genetics than the other topics of this lesson, but it serves as a good segue from the previous activity to the following topics.

Afterward, a list of resources is provided that describes how microorganisms are used to help treat diabetes and prevent diseases. These topics offer a good platform from which to discuss possible future applications of microorganisms, a fitting conclusion to the study of microorganisms!
Genetic engineering and the dairy industry: a question of productivity?
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Production of somatotrophine
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Production of somatotrophine
Production of somatotrophine

Illustration Nicole Catellier, Cinémanima inc.




© Cinémanima inc.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Genetically modified plants - the key to sustainable agriculture?
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Genetic engineering to the rescue of diabetics
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
How do they actually make insulin?
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
How do they actually make insulin?
How do they actually make insulin?

Armand-Frappier Museum




© Armand-Frappier Museum
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
A vaccine produced by genetic engineering? Why not!
Armand-Frappier Museum
© Armand-Frappier Museum, 2008. All rights reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Zoom in on Microorganisms
Institution: RCIP-CHIN

Learning Objectives

Students will:
- understand the history of our developing understanding of microorganisms
- compare and contrast different tools used to examine microorganisms
- investigate how microorganisms have been and continue to be important in everyday human life