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Growing more food

How will we feed 9 billion people?

Grow soybeans using Round-Up Ready seeds to illustrate how biotechnology can be used as a tool to increase production. Introduce students to different options for growing soybeans, investigate no-till farming versus conventional cultivation and the effects of each on soil fertility, and analyze Round-up Ready soybean growth. Students share the results of their investigations in a technical paper.


Teacher background

Soybeans are an essential part of Ohio farming operations. Proper soil nutrients are essential. There are 16 nutrients that help soybean growth, even though the emphasis is generally on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Farming soybeans can be done in various ways. No-till farming methods are a set of practices that do not require the land to be fully cultivated before planting, leaving much of the soil and cover at the surface with only a ¼” to ½” row to be tilled for planting. Conventional cultivation generally includes full tilling of the ground, removing all surface cover, either by a plow or set of disks (harrow) before planting rows. The use of fertilizers and pesticide may have positive effects on yield by increasing nutrients in the soil or reducing weeds or insects that affect the crop. Investigate the following links to get additional information about no-till and conventional farming methods:

In addition, there is growing momentum for the use of genetically modified crops. Round-up Ready soybeans are genetically modified to withstand the use of Round-up herbicide on soybean fields.

Next gen standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting concepts

  • Cause and effect
  • Systems and system models

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • ESS2A Earth materials and systems
  • ESS2C The roles of water in Earth's surface processes
  • ESS3A Natural resources
  • LS1B Growth and development of organisms
  • LS1D Information processing
  • LS2A Interdependent relationships in ecosystems
  • LS2C Ecosystem dynamics, functioning and resilience
  • PS3D Energy in chemical processes and everyday life
  • ETS2A Interdependence of science, engineering and technology


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