Hold a class debate on the following motion: Corporations have an obligation to act morally.
Divide students into teams that will argue for or against the motion. In those teams have students conduct research in order to prepare to argue their position. Ask them to consider which resources they will consult and to identify possible biases inherent in said resources. How can they make sure their research offers a balanced view of the issue? Remind them that bias can weaken their argument.
Use the following rules of the Canadian National Debating Format Style Guide to prepare students to stage their debate. http://osdu.on.ca/0/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/CNDF_Rules.pdf)
Decide who will moderate the debate – perhaps another teacher, principal, or student from another class. Invite another class to attend the debate and offer them the opportunity to ask questions of the debaters. By secret ballot, ask these students to vote for the team they believe made the most persuasive argument for or against the motion.
Which side won the debate? Why? Did students feel as though the voting audience a)understood the arguments presented? and b) were objective?
What would they change about the process? Do students feel they could have argued either side of the motion?
Post-Show Exercise #1
Try the debate from the pre-show exercise again but this time with students in role as business executives, employees of Monsanto, shareholders, board members of Monsanto, lobbyists, senators or members of Congress, academics, activists, stakeholders (in the case of Seeds, farmers), community members and others that students feel could be implicated in the issues presented in Seeds.
How did it feel to debate in role?
Did you agree with your character's viewpoint? If so, did this make it easier to stay in role? If not, how did you feel arguing the other side of the position?
Post-Show Exercise #2
As a class watch the film Food Inc. (or assign as homework).
Next, brainstorm all of the questions students have about Monsanto. What would they ask a representative from the company?
Then have students read through the following portion of Monsanto's website:
What do students think of Monsanto's responses? Does the company adequately respond to criticism? Are their responses persuasive?
Ask students to get into pairs. Player A will be a member of the public asking questions about Monsanto's agricultural practices and Player B will be a representative from Monsanto. For one minute have Player A "hot seat" Player B. (Guidelines for "Hot Seating" can be found here: (http://code.on.ca/resource/hot-seating).
How did it feel to have the opportunity to ask your questions? Did you feel you asked the "right" questions? Were you satisfied with the responses? Did you identify with your character?
How did it feel to represent Monsanto? Did you identify with your character?