Document of Learning: Night of the Notables Learning Intentions

Exactly one hundred thirty-five hours, two minutes and six seconds before I started writing this sentence that you are currently reading, visitors started to come to my learning center. They were greeted with a plethora of information, but there were three points that I wanted my visitors to take away from my learning center.

My learning center had a rustic and countryside feel to it. My eminent person, Norman Borlaug, was a man who spent his life in laboratories, government buildings, and fields. Of all the places he visited, however, he especially loved being in the field. I wanted to thoroughly illustrate that Norman Borlaug loved working in the field, so instead of using a single artifact to demonstrate this point, I decided to make everything revolve around the idea of the field. Burlap draped the “Contributions” canvas, and gave the atmosphere that one was in a shed surrounded by stored grain. To top it off, visitors had the unique opportunity to listen to wheat blowing in the field! Borlaug loved this sound and described it as “sweet, whispering music”. Despite some questioning looks, many brave volunteers listened to the wheat. Farming tools, plows, and the earthy smell of burlap sacks created the impression of a field. With these aids and some loquacious chatter, I managed to show my visitors Borlaug, the man who loved the field.

I also wanted to show Borlaug as a scientist. I found that people had a tendency to look down on farmers and view it as a menial job. That wasn’t going to happen on my watch. Black and white photos dotted the all-white poster board, which was juxtaposed next to the burlap canvas. Black and white photos really gave a professional look to Borlaug, and he seemed authentic and educated. A little color distortion was all it took to create an entirely different atmosphere. I also placed some wheat berries at various parts of their life cycle in petri dishes. Borlaug spent a great deal of time in the laboratory, observing the effects of the fungal disease, rust, on wheat, and I didn’t want it to go unnoticed. Being placed in scientific equipment, made the seeds look scientific and significant, as the petri dish is an icon of the word, “science”. Some subtle touches and a bit of color contrast, and I was able to “create” Borlaug, the scientist.

Finally, I wanted to show Borlaug as a hard worker. He worked ridiculously hard to ameliorate others’ living considers, and much of it went unnoticed, so I decided to shine some light on it. To accomplish this, I spent three nights building a wooden plow. Not only did I use it to enhance the countryside atmosphere, I also used it to bring light on a particular event in Borlaug’s life. When Borlaug first started his work in Mexico, the farmers refused to lend Borlaug a tractor. Instead of giving up like most of us would, Borlaug’s will to make his dream come true motivated him to strap himself to a plow and start digging acres and acres of furrows. He worked ridiculously hard just to help others, often getting up before the dawn of day to get a head start on the work. I think it is truly extraordinary how someone was so inclined to help others, even willing to pour their heart and soul in order to make others’ lives more livable.

Okay Jerome, now get to the point.

My intention that day was not to list the multiple awards that Norman Borlaug won. While receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Congressional Gold Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Science Award is certainly commendable, I didn’t see a point in listing facts that someone could find on the first page of Wikepedia. I believed that capturing the personality of Borlaug’s humble demeanor, his efforts, and views were more interesting and captivating to people.

When millions of people had given up, Borlaug brought in a small seed, something that would one day inspire millions to find the will to live. When heads of states were discussing famines in developing countries in their comfy offices, Borlaug was in the middle of a wheat field in East Africa, leading an initiative, an initiative to feed the world. He overcame language barriers, initial difficulties, unbearable living conditions, and the threat of war.

Here is a picture of my learning center.

There was a lot I wanted to tell about Dr. Borlaug, but these were the facts that I especially wanted to show my visitors.

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