it’s February, it’s cold/cool outside. I’ve been dropping puns all day in class (for example, “we’ll get into evolution…gradually”). It’s february, it’s the time when connections are made between concepts. It’s also the time when I start hitting my stride as a teacher. I’m feeling good, and most of the stuff I try is making sense and working.
Today I was faced with teaching an overview of global food systems, and the differences between high throughput agriculture and traditional subsistence agriculture. I love food, and I love thinking about food systems. I don’t love lecturing/yammering to a room full of teenagers. I spent an hour building a lesson where 1) I asked kids to write down a description of how the grapefruit I was holding made it to my hand. 2) I focused the kids on real soil samples and we passed them around. 3) we reviewed soil profiles (something we learned about in our ecosystem unit way back in August). 4) I led a discussion of the general differences between high throughput ag and subsistence ag. 5) I allowed them to pick a partner and investigate the “nuts and bolts” and “pros and cons” of various agricultural methods. The lesson went quite well. My students were engaged, they interacted with me (still working on getting them to interact productively with each other more naturally), and they got to work when it was their time to work. In a nutshell, my hour-long prep was time well spent.