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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mangos in the Morning! A Student Inspires His Teacher!

by Tatiana Gerus on Flickr
While waiting for my packets of state testing to be delivered to my classroom, amid the noise of scraping chairs and the whir of the pencil sharpener, one of my students approached my desk and shared the following with me.   "My family and I were looking up 'fruits' this morning before school.  We found that Mangos are the most popular fruit and did you know that there are 1000 different types of mangoes?" Hmmmm...actually, I didn't realize that.  As a matter of fact, I really never thought much about Mangos before now. 

Since my little fourth grade friend was fascinated by the mangos and had learned so much,  I felt the need to check them out for myself.  Here is what I learned....
  • Mangos are grown in tropical climates. In the Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti are the leading importers of mangoes in the US. 
  • Mangos are a good source of dietary fiber and low in calorie.
  •  The mango is the national fruit of India, Philippines and Pakistan. 
  • India produces the most mangoes but does little trading as it consumes much of the fruit.
  • Mangos can be used in recipes for salsa, smoothies, chutneys and more. 
  • Mango leaves are used in wedding celebrations.
After doing a little research I realized that there are so many lessons associated with this delicious fruit.  Some curriculum examples:
  • Geography:  Locating leading mango producers on the world map which would strengthen geography skills. 
  • Math: Looking up and creating recipes that would aid with following directions, fractions, measurement and problem solving.
  • Science: Learning about how different varieties are created as well as conditions needed to properly grow the fruits could be explored.
  • Language Arts: Researching; reading folktales; writing poems and stories about mangos will allow students practice in different genres.
Sensing my student's enthusiasm for learning with just a cursory look at the mango, makes me think about my friend Denise Krebs.  She allows her students a "Genius Hour" to learn and share about something for which they have a passion or for which they want to learn more about.  When students start researching and studying something they are interested in do they gain more than those topics which are mandatory?  I think, yes!

On a side note, this is why I love my job....everyday I am treated to something seen only through the eyes of interested and engaging 10 year-olds who are fascinated by things we adults sometimes think are just commonplace.

Thanks D for the 'teachable moment' for your teacher!

Meet a Mango Tree:  Learn all about the mango tree and fruit. 

Mango Nutrition Facts:  A few quick facts about the nutrition mangos provide.

All About Mangos:  A site that provides information about the history, health benefits; myths & facts and more.

Jango Geography from  A game to test your skills about the countries that produce mangos.  Other Games and activities from this site.

The Mango Charm:  A folktale

Mango Coloring Page:  Several different mango coloring pages at this site.

How to Cut a Mango: from


  1. Good morning Nancy!

    While reading your post this morning, I couldn't help but smile at the "whir of pencil sharpener"! HaHa! Another teacher I was talking to was "explaining" how fascinated her students were with the machine!

    Amazing that anyone today can wonder about something and begin learning about it by quickly looking it up on a phone or computer! (and folks say all kids do is text!) Even better that they take that new knowledge into the classroom to share and their teacher continues the excitement by incorporating it into their lessons! The idea of learning math with a recipe is genius! I don't know what educators call it, but talk about multitasking and bringing the lesson to life!

    Those that criticize our educational system for what is not being taught should open their eyes to what is and how. They might just want to go back to 4th grade.

    Great post!

  2. Hi Carol Ann,
    Thank you for commenting and being so complimentary. You are right that in today's world the information is only a click away. I guess as a teacher, I feel like I need to be teaching the kids how to 'research' effectively as you know there's more out there than Google. Also, I need to be reminded that everything doesn't have to be "techie". Using recipes and other hands on methods of teaching is really best.

    I think folks would really be pleased if they walked into a fourth grade classroom today to see all the learning going on inside.

    Thanks again.

  3. Hi Nancy,

    Yummy! I love mangos! I also think it is awesome that you paused to listen to your student and shared an interest in the inquiry and learning. It would have been easy to dismiss the conversation and focus on what was about to happen. However, your listening was the exact thing that nurtures curiosity and lets your students know they matter.

    Warm regards,

  4. Hi Tracy,
    Actually, I have never tried a mango and plan to do so soon. Everyone I spoke with LOVES them!
    It's hard not to listen and respond when someone is so excited about learning. This particular student is so enthusiastic - whatever we are doing he goes home and extends his own learning. Hope he never loses it.
    Thank you for taking time to comment.

  5. I cannot how much I love mangoes but I eat it because it is delicious but now that I got to know about it's benefits I am loving it more.
    Thanks for taking your time to do research!


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