WAXAHACHIE — Teaching, for many, is the molding of young minds. An educator aims to apply life lessons to students with hopes of making the learners understand how those experiences are related to their lives.
Because of this approach, WNGA World Geography teacher Lisa Minton and WNGA Biology teacher Robert Pitts have coordinated a schoolwide project that will help allow students learn from multiple elements of the Holocaust.
“During Tribe Time each day we’re going to have the students participate in a learning activity where, as a whole, they’re going to be studying something. We live in a time where tolerance and intolerance are something they see in the news,” Minton said. “We are creating a schoolwide project and they’re going to have groups that work together toward an end. Each discipline — social studies, algebra, geometry, biology, art, English, etc. — is taking an element from the Holocaust, applying it and using it in their class.”
Beginning Oct. 24 and throughout the rest of the fall semester, the students will be putting together and completing several projects.
“The final, overall grade will go towards each class. They will have time every day to work in their groups to complete their project,” Minton said.
The students will use an element from each class to solidify what happened during the time period.
“For example, in biology classes, they will talk about the food they were given. They’re going to talk about how it broke down in their body, how much protein that they were given and have to find out what they needed,” Minton explained.
Pitts believes the project will turn out great for the students.
“We as the science department are looking at having our students act as though they are the interns at the camps. They just learned biomolecules, lipids, carbs and proteins and we’re having them look at calorie intake,” Pitts said
Recently, A WNGA science teacher interviewed a Holocaust survivor.
“The survivor told them his job, what he was given to eat and told that the doctors checked you once you were done working the fields. If you were too thin they put you in a fire, if you were just right they let you eat again and if you were too healthy, they assumed you stole food and would kill you,” Pitts said.
Students will be figuring out how to acquire and eat enough food without the “doctor” finding out they are cheating.
“Geometry and art are doing something really cool where they are tying in a geometric element to make a mural. Social Studies will look at the political aspects of that time period and what exactly tolerance is,” Minton said.
Along with core classes, CTE communications courses will be involved by teaching the students what propaganda is, how it was used and how it is still used today.
“With our first try of this in the fall, we will be able to catch some of the hiccups and fix them for when we do this again in the spring. It will be something special and something neat,” Minton said.
Two weeks into the school year Minton and Pitts presented the project to the WNGA teachers.
“We chose topics, voted on which we would teach and started planning. We started coming up with ideas the second week of school and two weeks later we gave them a week to vote,” Pitts said.
The goal of the project is to teach the students to look beyond themselves.
“When you’re their age, your world is pretty small. It is our intention to have them see the bigger picture,” Minton said. “We have them do things in the community like work the Veteran’s Day assembly. We teach them to go beyond themselves in the community and the Holocaust is something bigger than them and is very historic.”
Minton and Pitts want the students to take what they see and realize how the principals of the Holocaust and how they have manifested in today’s society.
“It’s hard for them to understand facts when they don’t tie in with a part of a student's life. When they do this, that’s how they learn to understand things. It helps them form their own opinions,” Pitts said.
According to Minton, WNGA teachers' goals are to teach the students life and how to handle and maneuver it.
“At WNGA we’ve done cross-curricular multiple times, but with the way education has changed, it’s taken teacher's hands away from being able to do this somewhat. We recognize the value of this type of learning. The students learn to tie every subject into something, and it all comes together,” Minton said. “We wanted to do something like this and show them the relevance of it.
"We’re supposed to raise them up to be college ready and apart of that is teaching them to put the pieces together.”
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL