Teacher Spotlight: Tracy Mendoza

September 19, 2013 | 1:09 pm

“When students see pictures of starving children in Africa, it never dawns on them to ask ‘why?'” This is one reason Tracy Mendoza feels teaching soil science is so important.  As a Gifted Education teacher for grades 1 through 5 at Northlake Park Community School in Orlando, FL, Ms. Mendoza is passionate about teaching students to think globally.  Below, she shares her favorite resource and the impact it’s had on her students.  Also, check back on Monday for a post about Ms. Mendoza’s school garden!

 

How I found the Foundation: In an email from the grade level chairman.

Favorite resource: Humanity Against Hunger web module.

How I used it: I used it to demonstrate to the students the importance of fertilizer in our world.  Prior to the lesson, I don’t believe they had any idea.  Additionally, I wanted them to become others oriented, and to open the door for them to think globally.

Student reactions: 1) “I can use science to help others!”,2) “It’s better to ship fertilizer than food.”  The students loved the unit, and were eager to visit the garden each class session.  Furthermore, parents stated their child begged to eat collards on the weekend!

Plans for future lessons: I’ve offered to teach Humanity Against Hunger to regular education students this year.

Why teaching soil science is important to me:  To hone critical-thinking skills in young people.  I don’t believe students are aware of how much plant growth is affected by the level of nutrients in the soil.  When students see pictures of starving children in Africa, it never dawns on them as to ask “why?”  Hence, by inviting students to become active participants in solving the food crisis, they begin to realize the important role nutrients play in other people’s lives as well as their own.

Another reason, soil science is just an interesting topic!

 

Want more ideas on how to use Humanity Against Hunger in the classroom?  Read Ms. Meredith’s take on the resource here.

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