Teacher Center

2009 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award

Ms. Paula Marquez, Utah

Growing up in Montana provided Paula Marquez with the knowledge and background to share her love of agriculture with her students.The student population in Paula's school and classroom is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity. Working with English as a Second Language learners allows her to introduce new agriculturerelated foods, vocabulary, and stories to her students.

"I wish I could give my students the same farming and gardening experience that I experienced. I believe these hands-on experiences make a person hard working, strong, and responsible. Helping my students understand agriculture will help them to be better citizens."

Ms. Marquez was taught that teaching a child to garden helps him or her eat for a lifetime. Teaching a child where their food comes from teaches them to respect the environment and animals. Investigating food helps students understand the source of that food and its importance to their society, culture, and nutritional requirements. Ms. Marquez has incorporated these ideas into her classroom by using concepts of farming, gardening, soils, and plants as means of integrating agriculture into the core curriculum of math, science, social studies, and healthy lifestyles.

Studying these subjects is easy with agriculture. Science is explored through growing and caring for plants, and learning about soils and micro-organisms. Recording discoveries and documenting procedures is related to language arts. Measuring the growth of plants and worms and graphing the results is more engaging and meaningful to children than measuring math cubes. Incorporating Agriculture into the Classroom creates endless possibilities!

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