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CSI Dublin: The Hunt for the Irish Potato Killer


Dublin Famine Memorial

Dublin Famine Memorial

In these lesson plans, students will act as CSI agents investigating the mysterious pathogen that caused the massive potato crop failure and resultant Great Famine of 1845 in Ireland. Through a variety of seven focused activities, students will map its diffusion, experience the history of the Great Famine, isolate and test samples using PCR and gel electrophoresis, create Wanted Posters of plant pathogens and take action in communicating their concerns of chemical controls of these pathogens and the danger of repeating history.

In this module students will explore social implications of food production and storage, the power of microbes, and the significant impact of biotechnology in understanding the past, present and future of plant epidemics.

By utilizing authentic research from primary resources, contemporary biotechnology experiences, and inquiry based practices, this curriculum will engage students through a retrospective study of the Great Famine. Students will understand the social and historical events of the past to appreciate the importance of the use of current technology in protecting the future food supply of North Carolina and the world.