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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


Unit Topics: Ecological & Cultural Community Adaptation Folk Tales Primary Level Minnesota Preparatory Standards Addressed: Applied Scientific Methods: Direct Science Experience People and Cultures: Family, School and Community Read, Listen and View: Literal Comprehension and Interpretation & Evaluation Write and Speak: Writing and Speaking Unit Duration: 2-4 Weeks Unit Settings: Classroom School Garden or Outdoor Area

Three Sisters Garden


Unit Summary: The Three Sisters Garden is a gardening technique based in American Indian history as well as an environmentally sustainable crop management system. Background for the Teacher: A wide variety of Native tribes used the Three Sisters technique for planting and had legends/stories to go along with it. One documented version of the Mohawk legend was recorded by Lois Thomas of Cornwall Island, Canada as part of a collection of legends compiled by students at Centennial College, Toronto, Canada. Found in The Three Sisters, Exploring an Iroquois Garden (see resource list.) The basic structure of the stories is that the oldest sister is the corn, who stands tall in the middle, the next sister is the squash who spreads out along the ground protecting the other sisters from weeds and pests, the last sister is the bean, who climbs up the corn stalks. The foundation for these legends is the concept of companion planting or inter-planting, a growing method in which plants that are mutually beneficial are planted together to maintain the health of the soil and to increase yield in both the short and long term. The Three Sisters make good companions in the following ways. Corn is nitrogen-depleting, and if planted alone eventually forces crop rotation in order to maintain soil quality. Beans are nitrogen-fixing, meaning they take nitrogen from the air and fix it in the soil. When corn and beans are planted together, they maintain the balance of the soil. Beans are also a climbing plant, and corn provides a natural trellis for beans to climb. Squash, a ground-covering prickly vine, offers weed control and pest control (the prickles are deterrents to larger pests like rabbits and deer) when planted around the corn and beans. In the Three Sisters Garden the soil is prepared in mounds about three feet apart. Small holes are prepared in the mounds and corn seeds are planted. As the corn plants begin to emerge, the weeds are controlled and the soil is mounded around the plants. When the plants achieve four to six inches in height, bean and squash plants are planted in the same mounds as the corn. This unit is best done using an outside garden space and over a spring through fall time period. Adaptations may be necessary if your program is not on a year round calendar, however many of the lessons could be done with an indoor planting through the winter with a grow light. The concepts can also be studied without actually planting the garden but as much hands on experience as possible is recommended. Of course if you choose to do the actual planting, growing and harvesting, you will also need to build in

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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time for maintenance of your garden including watering and weeding. We have had success with this by dividing our class into smaller groups who are responsible for various elements of garden work along with support from family and community volunteers. Before starting this unit, it is assumed that students will be familiar with the topic of culture and able to discuss diversity appropriately. Some excellent resources for teachers to broaden their own knowledge are included in this unit. Learning should be framed by the idea that our country is made up of many different groups rather than European Americans being seen as the norm and other groups being seen as diverse. It is critical that the differentiation between Native life in the past and in the present be made clear, and that Native people are not seen as pieces of history but rather as living groups in present day society. Whenever possible use tribe names to identify people or stories rather than using the broad term Native American or American Indian. Unit Overview: Activity I: Meet the Sisters Activity II: Planting the Garden Activity III: Life Cycle of Pumpkins Activity IV: Amazing Corn Stories Activity V: More Amazing Corn Stories Activity VI: Anatomy of Corn Activity VII: Corn Yesterday, Corn Today Activity VIII: Corn Yesterday, Corn Today - Part II Activity IX: Whats in There? Activity X: Seed Germination Activity XI: All Dolled Up Activity XII: Thank You, Sisters Resources: Specific resources are listed within individual unit activities. Resource lists are also included as separate pages within this unit.

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Introduction to Three Sisters Garden Activity Duration: 45 - 60 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 1: Meet the Sisters


Activity Summary: This activity introduces the Three Sisters Garden, its historical context and scientific significance while also connecting the idea of inter-dependence in plants with inter-dependence in the human community. Materials: Legend of the Three Sisters from The Three Sisters; Exploring an Iroquois Garden or another Three Sisters legend Lean on Me (song by Bill Withers) a version recorded for kids on the CD, Like a Ripple On the Water; Songs for Community by Kim and Jerry Brodey (an excellent collection of songs with themes of peace and community building) White board or chart paper for recording answers Set Up/Preparation: The teacher should be familiar with the concept of the Three Sisters Garden and the historical and scientific connections. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-aloud times, class meetings etc.) Explain you will be learning about a kind of planting that was used historically by many Native American tribes, and that is called The Three Sisters Garden because the three crops were seen as three sisters. Tell them you will be reading/telling a legend from the Mohawk tribe about this kind of garden. Read it through one time to enjoy the story. Read through a second time asking the students to listen carefully for clues about what three plants make up the three sisters. Activity Depending on the size of the group, you may stay in one large group or divide into smaller ones. Make predictions about the plants that make up the three sisters and use details from the story to justify thinking. If any of the predictions are correct, teacher verifies and connects to pieces from the legend. Make connections to students current knowledge about the three plants using chart paper or white board; What do we know about Corn, What do we know about squash etc. Again, if any of the information on the charts is pertinent to the interdependent relationship, teacher points it out. For example if a student noted that beans need something to climb up and another student noted that corn grows on tall stalks, teacher would make connection to how they help each other in the three sisters garden. Teacher moves into brief lecture/description of the ways the plants help

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
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each other, covering anything that didnt come up through the childrens brainstorming. Cool Down This activity gives students some background information about the Three Sisters Garden as well as activating their prior knowledge and generating interest. To close out the activity and make connections back to the students real life; ask them to think of examples where people work together in the same ways the plants from the three sisters garden do. Like the three sisters, there are times where one person or one group cant do it alone, different people or different kinds of people working together can achieve a stronger result than working alone. An example to get them started might be to consider how a school needs many kinds of people to function. Teachers, students, and other workers like custodians, office staff etc., have to all work together. A school with just teachers or just students wouldnt be successful. There are times that one group is the one doing the helping and times that group is being helped. Each group has an important role to play. This can be done in a large group brainstorming or smaller groups where each group writes and illustrates an example of people working together. This is an important step to make connections about human interdependence and the benefits of diversity. This is a great time to finish with a song like Lean on Me. Allow enough time for discussion and presentation. Related Activities/Extensions Picture book and biographies of school staff created by students Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Planting the Three Sisters Garden Activity Duration: 60 minutes Activity Setting: School Garden or Outdoor Area

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 2: Planting the Garden


Activity Summary: In this activity, the students plant the corn and squash seeds to begin the Three Sisters Garden and participate in guided imagery dramatic play to reinforce the concept of companion planting. Materials: Prepared garden bed or very large pot Corn seeds, soaked overnight Squash seeds In the Three Sisters Garden, p. 46-48 Chart paper with student names listed on it and marker Set Up/Preparation: Prepare the garden bed for planting - a traditional rounded mound is best. A raised bed or very large pot with soil would work as well. Soak the corn seeds overnight for best results with germination. Keep soil moist (not drenched) until seeds germinate. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in circle to review the plants in the Three Sisters garden and what is each plants role. Activity Tell students that we will only be planting two of the Three Sisters today. Show students the corn and squash seeds. Ask students to identify each seed, and ask which sister is missing. Ask students why we will wait to plant the bean seeds. (The corn must be at least 6 inches tall before planting bean seeds so that they will have something to climb as they grow.) Go to the garden bed. As a group, discuss the placement of the seeds. (Corn is planted in the middle, squash is planted around the edges. The beans will be planted around the corn later.) Depending on group size, either give each student a seed to plant or pair the students to plant seeds together. As each student receives a seed, review the kind of seed it is and where it should be planted in the bed. Select a few students to water the seeds. Watering should be done slowly and carefully so that the seeds are not washed away. Move to an open space outdoors (preferably near the garden bed.) Divide the students into groups of three to be Three Sisters and Brothers gardens. In their groups, students will choose to be corn, squash, or beans. (Remind the students that one of each plant is necessary to be a companion in a healthy Three Sisters Garden.) Students sit on the ground in their groups. Tell them to listen carefully to the Three Sisters story and to act out each of their parts throughout the story. Read

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aloud the Three Sisters Guided Journey (pp. 46-48 In the Three Sisters Garden) Cool Down Using the chart paper, make predictions about how many days it will take for the corn and squash seeds to germinate. Record predictions and track the results. Related Activities/Extensions Seed planting of any kind (floral, vegetable, herb) Resources:

Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Life Cycle of Pumpkins Activity Duration: 45 minutes Optional ongoing weekly pumpkin journal; starts at planting and goes for at least 5 weeks. Pumpkins take 100 days to be fully ready so journal throughout that time would be optimal Activity Setting: Classroom School Garden or Outdoor Area

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 3: Life Cycle of Pumpkins


Activity Summary: This activity illustrates one plant from the three sisters garden. Materials: Pumpkin Circle book (can also use videoif desired) Paper and colored pencils Pumpkin journal pages Set Up/Preparation: The teacher should decide whether to use the book and video or just the book. Decide if you are going to do the pumpkin journal option In addition, the pumpkin journal works best if started the same week you plant pumpkins or at least the first week so you need to coordinate with lesson two. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-alouds, class meetings etc.) Review the elements of the Three Sisters Garden and how you have planted pumpkins as the squash representative in the garden. Read the book, The Pumpkin Circle. Discuss the cycle described in the book. It is also helpful to draw the different stages of plant development on cards and have students help put them in order on a pocket chart. The activity can be extended by reading the book and watching the video and comparing them. *It is important that with both the book and the video, the holiday of Halloween is discussed appropriately. Students need to see Halloween as a holiday that is celebrated by some but certainly not all people. Be careful not to give the impression that it is a holiday celebrated by all Americans as many groups within the U.S dont celebrate and some religious and cultural groups view it negatively. It can be helpful to note that the author of this book shows a pumpkin that is carved into a jack-o-lantern but that he doesnt ever say it is just for Halloween. It is a good starting point to talk about all of the other uses for pumpkins! Activity Each person draws their own version of the pumpkin circle, starting at the top of the page with a seed and ending up back with a seed again. It is helpful to have a variety of real seeds out for kids to explore and many of the pumpkin books out for them to use as models. A larger class version of the circle can also be created and posted. This page can be used as a cover for their pumpkin journals or taken home with the additional assignment to show someone at home and bring back a question or

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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comment. Explain the pumpkin journal. Tell the students that as scientists who are now growing your own pumpkin as part of the Three Sisters Garden, you will be monitoring your pumpkins and recording your observations in a journal. Give clear guidelines about what kinds of things scientists would include in an observation. Model drawing only what you see not what you wish was there. It can be helpful to have exaggerated examples of what NOT to do (like a picture of a pumpkin bigger than a kid with a rainbow and a horse and a pokemon). If there is only one small sprout, that is what you need to draw. Depending on the level of your students, set an expectation for what should be written in the notes section. Students can write their own notes or have an option of copying notes from a white board based on cumulative observations of the group. This activity works well by having small groups record on specific days of the week. For example, divide your class into thirds and one group observes and records on Mondays, one on Tuesdays, etc. If possible, observe over at least a five-week period starting with the week of planting. (The seed leaves are usually sprouted within 7 days and will provide you with wonderful changes to record each week). If possible, have a sharing time following the observations and recordings where students can show their work to one another and provide questions and comments. Cool Down If you complete the pumpkin journal activity, at the end of the process, give students the responsibility for compiling their pages into chronological order. Ask them to try it first without looking at the dates and trying to assemble it based on just their observations and notes. Make the journals into books to add to students portfolios, be displayed in the classroom, or go home to demonstrate learning. Related Activities/Extensions There are a wide variety of books about pumpkins and projects connected to pumpkins (See resource list) Comparing/Contrasting with other cycles, such as the water cycle Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Corn stories in Native Folktales Connection to modern uses Activity Duration: 45 - 60 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 4: Amazing Corn Stories


Activity Summary: This activity introduces two legends related to corn and the cultural significance of corn. Materials: Three Stalks of Corn by Leo Politi Reading Response chart paper Set Up/Preparation: No special Set Up/Preparation needed. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-alouds, class meetings etc. Review the legend of the Three Sisters and the concept of a legend. Especially highlighting that many cultures have stories to explain important parts of life.Show them the book and make predictions based on the cover and back cover. Explain that Mr. Politi decided to write a story within a story by also including two legends from the native tribes of Mexico. Do a picture walk through the book and try to determine which pictures are part of the story of the little girl and her grandma, and which pictures are from the legends. Activity Read the story once through, stopping to make predictions, ask questions etc. throughout. Re-read the parts that contain the two legends. Discuss connections between these legends and others that the students may be familiar with. Complete a reading response for each legend including characters, sequence of events, and what the legend is trying to explain. The responses should be modeled on large chart paper. Cool Down To close out the activity, explain that this format will be used in the future as they investigate further legends and folk tales. Provide opportunity for questions and discussion of both the story and the two legends. Related Activities/Extensions Identifying folk tales Recognizing differences between folk tales, fairy tales and fractured fairy tales Connect to further folk tale study maybe a folk tale from another culture

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Corn stories in Native Folktales Activity Duration: Two 30-minute blocks Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 5: More Amazing Corn Stories


Activity Summary: This activity provides further investigation into Native corn legends. Materials: Three Stalks of Corn by Leo Politi Dragonflys Tale by Kristina Rodanas The Legend of Food Mountain adapted by Harriet Rohmer Any other corn related folk tales Reading response forms Set Up/Preparation: The teacher needs to decide whether to create groups for small group work or to allow student chosen groups. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-alouds, class meetings etc. Review the book Three Stalks of Corn and the reading response charts for the two legends from that book. Activity Read The Legend of Food Mountain. Complete a reading response form as a large group. Discuss connections between this legend and the similar one from the Three Stalks of Corn. Complete a Venn diagram showing what parts were the same and what parts were different. Explain that you are modeling this and that students will be completing their own in small groups for another set of legends. Discuss the importance of corn in the lives of the native people and how corn is featured in the legends. Introduce Dragonflys Tale. Ask students to make predictions about the tribe the story comes from based on looking at the pictures. Is it a MN tribe? What clues tell you it isnt? Find on the map where the native Mexican tribes (who told the first legend) lived and the Zuni (from this story). Review the historical context of a legend and how the illustrator is attempting to draw what she believes things may have looked like long long ago. Read the story. Explain directions that students will complete a reading response for this story and a Venn diagram comparing this legend to the one of Food Mountain in groups.

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Students get into small groups and complete the task. Student work is shared back to the larger group. Cool Down To close out the activity, compile the responses and Venn diagrams into a book for the classroom library or a display. Look through all three books and compare the styles used by the illustrators. If there is time, ask students to draw their own versions of what one of the characters from the legends would look like. Suggest legend writing as an option during writers workshop or creative writing time. Related Activities/Extensions Connect to further folk tale study. Students illustrate a favorite part of one of the legends or try to make one picture that portrays the basic theme of the legend. Connect to rice in Asian cultures and Asian folk tales. Resources:

Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Observation of corn plant Activity Duration: 45 - 60 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 6: Anatomy of Corn


Activity Summary: This activity traces the development of the modern corn plant, asks students to use observation skills, and develops basic scientific knowledge about the parts of a corn plant. Materials: Ears of corn (enough for each student to have one or a pair of students to share one ear) Data collection sheets Homework explanation sheet Set Up/Preparation: The teacher should decide whether to have students work individually or in pairs. Create a data collection form that fits with your particular science objectives. Create a list of plant parts for student identification Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-alouds, class meetings etc. Read the book, Corn is Maize by Aliki. Discuss how Aliki uses her books to teach kids scientific concepts. Some people just look at corn and think nothing of it. But now you are becoming CORN EXPERTS! We will learn all about corn as anthropologists and as scientists. Explain that you will be examining an ear of corn, making some observations and recording some data. Show the data collection sheets and emphasize the importance of recording what they observe with as much detail as possible. Activity Individually or in partners, students will investigate the ear of corn and draw the specific parts as indicated by the data collection form. Ask them to try and trace a piece of the silk back to a kernel. Give them a list of corn parts and ask them to finish their work by drawing an ear of corn (using theirs as a model) and labeling each part correctly. Depending on the level of your students, you may want to use the diagram of pollenation on page 4 of Alikis book and have the students show each other on the ear of corn how they think it works. *After you are finished investigating the ears of corn, they can be washed and cooked for a classroom corn feed, or dried and used for art projects. It also works to have different students investigating different kinds of corn and comparing their results.

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Gather again as a group and discuss your findings. Show off some of the work of particularly detailed scientists. Discuss what you discovered and any further questions you have. Cool Down To close out the activity, ask how students thinking about corn is changing as you work with the Three Sisters Garden. Explain the homework and clarify any questions students have about it. The homework is to discuss what youve learned about corn with someone in your family. You are responsible for bringing back a corn recipe or a corn story AND to do some further investigating where you live. You will be finding as many products as you can in your home that have corn as an ingredient. (Lesson six contains activities to do once the homework has been turned in) Related Activities/Extensions Research into modern corn controversy (biotechnology etc.) Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Connections to students lives Understanding modern significance of corn Activity Duration: At least an hour; can be divided into two smaller blocks of time. One block for reporting and planning; one for creating the mural. Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 7: Corn Yesterday, Corn Today


Activity Summary: This activity connects historical and modern significance of corn to students own lives. Materials: Returned homework sheets Four Seasons of Corn; A Winnebago Tradition by Sally M. Hunter Corn Belt Harvest by Raymond Bial Mural paper Art supplies Magazines Set Up/Preparation: The teacher should decide how to create small groups (about 5-6 students per group). Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle or group meeting area (where they are used to meeting for read-alouds, class meetings etc. Read the book, Four Seasons of Corn. Discuss the differences between historical Native American farming and the traditions of the family from the book. Do a picture walk of Corn Belt Harvest. Find the corn belt on the map and show your communitys location in the corn belt. Explain that these books were chosen specifically to highlight that corn was not just an important crop for Native people in the past, but continues to be important to many groups today. Explain that in small groups, students will be reporting back their corn stories and other results of the homework. Then they will be creating a mural for their group that illustrates the importance of corn throughout history and into modern times. Activity Each person reports the results of question one and two to the group. A group leader and a group recorder should be chosen ahead of time. The leader will facilitate the discussion; the recorder will keep track of the results on a data recording form. After reporting, discussing, and recording the results, the group will complete a plan for their mural. *If you are doing this lesson as one continuous project, have the groups check their plan with a teacher before getting mural paper and supplies. If you are doing this as two separate time blocks, make sure youve looked at the plans and discussed them with the group before they get started.

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
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Students use a variety of supplies to complete the murals. Cool Down Gather again as a group and present your murals. Discuss what they represent. Ask if students see patterns or similarities in the murals. Related Activities/Extensions Create a Corn Museum and invite other classes to come and view the murals Compare with the importance of rice in Asian cultures Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Exploring and classifying the uses of corn Making connections with corn in students lives Activity Duration: 30 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 8: Corn Yesterday, Corn Today Part II


Activity Summary: This activity illustrates the significance of corn in American culture. Materials: Scrap paper or post-it notes Tape Marker Set Up/Preparation: Using the responses for question 3 on the homework sheet from Lesson Six, generate a list of products made from corn. Add to this list if needed so that there are as many corn products as there are students in your class. Using scrap paper or Post-it notes, make cards with one corn product written on it for each student in the class. Procedure: Warm Up Ask the students to remind you of some of the products they found at home that come from corn. Tell the students that there are many, many uses of corn, and we are going to be playing a game to find out some of them. Activity Show the students an example card of a corn product. Tell them that each student will have a card taped to his/her back and that they have to figure out what that corn product is by asking other classmates questions to find out information. These questions may only be ones that have yes/no answers. Model questions you would ask about the example corn product to find out information. Tell the students that when they figure out what the product is, they will classify themselves into different categories of products. Brainstorm with the students what these categories would be (e.g. things you eat, things you wear, things having to do with animals, etc.). Write up on the board, or make posters representing the different categories and place them around the room. Tape a card to each students back. Assist the students in asking questions to find out what their product is. Encourage the students to help each other classify their products into the categories. Assist them if necessary. Cool Down Review the classification into categories to ensure that the students have classified their products correctly. Ask the students if there are any

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products that could be classified into more than one category. Brainstorm other corn products that could be classified into the categories. Related Activities/Extensions Rice or another grain as a product Any activity that is related to classification Defining attributes Resources:

Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Identifying the parts of a seed and their functions. Planting the beans in the Three Sisters Garden. Activity Duration: 60 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom School Garden or Outdoor Area

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 9: Whats In There?


Activity Summary: In this activity, students identify the parts of a seed and learn the function of each part. The activity also completes the planting of the Three Sisters Garden. Materials: Backpack stuffed with crumpled paper Water bottle (put in backpack) Example of a Snack (put in backpack- a granola bar or trail mix would be appropriate) Large jacket or windbreaker Hat Tape Labels of seed parts (cotyledon, seed coat, root, leaves) Bean Seeds, soaked overnight (enough for students to have two each and some to plant in the garden) Paper towels Hand lenses Trowels or spoons Set Up/Preparation: Soak the bean seeds overnight so that they can be dissected easily. If they are dry, the students will not be able to see each part. Familiarize yourself with the parts of a seed and their functions. The Warm Up comes from the Little Sprout Activity in Project Seasons; review this activity if possible. Procedure: Warm Up Gather students in a circle. Select one student to be Little Sprout. Have student put on backpack (with water bottle and snack inside) and the jacket over it. Tell the students that Little Sprout is a well-prepared hiker, but is also going to teach them about seeds. Tell them that Little Sprout and seeds have a lot in common. Ask students why a hiker would wear a coat. (To protect from the wind, cold, rain, etc.) Explain that seeds also have coats for protection. Attach the seed coat label to the coat that Little Sprout is wearing. Explain that when the conditions change, a person can take off a coat. Similarly, when the conditions are right for growth, the seed coat cracks open and the seed germinates (sprouts roots and leaves). Have Little Sprout take off the coat and place it where the label is visible. Ask the students what else a well-prepared hiker would bring along. (A backpack with supplies in it.) Ask Little Sprout to look in the pocket of the

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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backpack and to pull out what is inside (snack). Explain that seeds also have a supply of stored food that is stored in something like a backpack. A seed has two cotyledons, which give the seed the energy to germinate and grow. Attach the cotyledon label to the backpack. Tell the students that a hiker uses a lot of energy and gets thirsty. Ask students what a hiker would bring along (water bottle). Ask Little Sprout to look inside the main compartment of the backpack and to pull out what is inside. Show the water bottle to the class and tell them that plants also need water and minerals to help them grow. Ask the students how plants get water and minerals (roots). Attach the root label to the water bottle. Tell the students that the beginnings of the roots are inside the seed. Ask the students what other item a hiker might bring along, especially if it is a bright and sunny day (hat). Have Little Sprout put on the hat. Tell the students that the hat represents the first green leaves that grow from a seedling. Attach the leaves label to the hat and tell them that the leaves use sunlight to make food for the plant photosynthesis. When the first leaves grow, the cotyledons fall of the seed, because their energy is no longer needed the plant is now able to get energy from the sun. Activity Divide the group into pairs and give each student a paper towel and a hand lens. Give each student two bean seeds. Tell the students that they are going to find the parts of a seed that we talked about with Little Sprout by dissecting their bean seeds and observing the different parts. Tell the students to carefully rub the bean between their fingers. (The seed coat will separate from the cotyledons.) Have the students peel the thin membrane away and ask them what part of the seed it is (seed coat). Tell the students to separate the two parts of the seed and ask them what the big oval parts are (cotyledons). Ask the students what the cotyledons, like the backpack, do for the seed (store energy). Ask the students what they see inside the cotyledon. (a little growth extension the root, and little triangular shapes the first leaves). Help the students identify these parts. Tell the students to dissect their second seed to see if all the same parts are in it as well. Reinforce the idea that all seeds have these parts. Tell students to use the hand lenses to look more closely at each seed part Cool Down Take some of the soaked bean seeds and plant them in the Three Sisters Garden near the corn stalks. Ask the students why the beans need to be near the corn (to have something to climb as they grow.) Review the symbiotic relationship between beans and corn. Related Activities/Extensions Any planting activity

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Soil/ground preparation Identification activities

Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Observing the process of seed germination Activity Duration: 30 minutes; brief observations over the next several days Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 10: Seed Germination


Activity Summary: In this activity, students observe the process of seed germination, identify the parts of the plant as they grow, and explore the concept of sequencing. They also discuss the basic elements plant need to survive. Materials: Several bean seeds, soaked overnight Large plastic Ziploc bag Paper towel Water Natural light from windowsill or grow light Index cards with growth sequence illustrated in pictures and words (root, shoot, first leaves, stem, leaves) Chart paper to create a Germination and Growth Chart/Calendar Set Up/Preparation: Soak the bean seeds overnight to ensure germination. Prepare the growth sequence cards. Create a Germination and Growth chart or calendar to document how long it takes for each part of the plant to grow. Procedure: Warm Up Gather the students in a circle. Review the Little Sprout activity and the parts of seed and their functions. Ask the students what happens to seeds when the growing conditions are right (germination). Tell the students that they are going to observe seed germination happening. Ask them where seeds usually grow (soil). What else do seeds need for the growing conditions to be right? (water, sun, and air) Ask students how we could observe germination happening (put the seeds in something clear). Activity Show the students the Ziploc bag and paper towel. Review again what plants need to grow (sun, soil, water, and air). Tell students that we will use the Ziploc bag and paper towel instead of soil the paper towel would provide a growing surface. Eventually though, a plant would need soil because it also provides nutrients for the plant. Discuss how we will provide the other elements (water, sun, and air). Wet the paper towel, place several bean seeds on it, and put them in the bag. Make sure there is some air trapped in the bag before sealing it. Place the bag on the windowsill or under the grow light. Ask the students what will happen first as the seed starts the process of germination (The seed coat will split and the root will appear). Show the

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


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root sequence card. Ask the students what will come out of the seed next (shoot) and then after that (first leaves). Show the appropriate sequencing cards. Discuss what we will need to do to make sure the plant is getting what it needs to germinate and grow (make sure the paper towel stays moist and that there is air in the bag). Record the growth process on the Germination and Growth chart Cool Down Have copies of the growth sequence cards and have students put them in order. Related Activities/Extensions Creating a dictionary with plant related terminology as students learn new words make individual pages large for display, have students use materials that are developmentally appropriate for their dictionary. Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Observing a Native American tradition by creating cornhusk dolls in celebration of the harvest. Activity Duration: 60 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 11: All Dolled Up


Activity Summary: In this activity, students create celebratory dolls from cornhusks in honor of the harvest from the Three Sisters Garden and as a way to use all parts of the harvest. Materials: Ears of corn (or already dried corn husks from a craft supply store) Heavy books or a flower press (if drying your own corn husks) Scissors String or yarn Markers Pieces of colorful fabrics Glue Set Up/Preparation: If drying your own cornhusks, remove husks from several ears of corn. Save the corn silk for hair. Use a heavy book or a flower press to keep the husks flat as they dry. Divide the decorating materials into different tubs/baskets so that small groups of students can share them. Refer to Project Seasons Lucky Harvest Dolls for more information. Procedure: Warm Up Gather the students in a circle. Discuss the concept harvest with the students. Ask the students why historically, the harvest was a very important time. Tell the students that many Native American tribes celebrated the harvest with dancing, feasts, jewelry, and other special items and events. Tell them that Native American children sometimes would make dolls from the husks of the harvested corn to celebrate and to ensure good luck for the next year. Discuss with the students the idea of using all parts of the corn as a way to reduce waste. Activity Model to fold the husks to make the basic shape of the doll. Take several large husks and place them on top of each other, then fold them in thirds lengthwise, making a long narrow piece. Then fold this long piece in half. Keep the folds hidden on the inside. Explain that this piece is the body of the doll. Tie one piece of yarn a little below the top of the fold to create the head of the doll. Then take a smaller piece of cornhusk, fold it in half or in thirds to make a narrow strip. Fold the strip in half so that it is half as long. Slip the smaller piece of husk below the head of the doll, between the main fold of the body to make arms. Tie the second piece of yarn below the arms to form the waist of the doll. To make pants for the doll,

mce

Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project


Notes:

use scissors to cut the section below the waist in two. To make a doll wearing a skirt, tuck extra pieces of husk under the waistband to form a full skirt. Give each student several large cornhusks and two pieces of string or yarn. Tell the students to work in pairs to help each other with tying the string for the heads. Assist the students with creating their dolls. Tell the students that once they have made the basic form of the doll, they may use markers to draw faces and yarn, fabric, and other materials to decorate the dolls. Encourage them to be creative. Cool Down Students may use their cornhusk dolls to put on a puppet show about what they have learned throughout their experience with the Three Sisters Garden. Related Activities/Extensions Any creative use of the corn husks, so as not to have it wasted Research what other cultures do at harvest of the staple grain Resources:

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Multicultural Environmental Education Curriculum Writing Project
Activity Topics: Observing a Native American Tradition by celebrating the harvest of the Three Sisters Garden and exploring Native American perspectives. Activity Duration: 60 - 120 minutes Activity Setting: Classroom

Three Sisters Garden Lesson 12: Thank You, Sisters


Activity Summary: In this activity, students celebrate and give thanks for the harvest of the Three Sisters Garden and reflect on different cultural experiences and practices. Materials: Harvested corn, beans, and squash Cooking supplies and materials Art supplies Music Set Up/Preparation: There are many ways to celebrate the harvest. The celebration could include: preparing recipes with the harvested vegetables and sharing them together; retelling some of the folktales studied throughout the unit, making jewelry such as corn necklaces, creating a ceremonial harvest table, singing songs, creating skits to perform for families and other classes, dancing, etc. With your students, decide how you would like to celebrate together the harvest from the Three Sisters Garden. Learning becomes more meaningful when students share what they have learned with others. Consider inviting families and/or other classes to the celebration. Procedure: Warm Up *see Set Up/Preparation above Activity *see Set Up/Preparation above Cool Down Discuss the idea of the European American holiday of Thanksgiving from the perspective of Native Americans today. Many Native American people feel that this holiday represents a turning point in history towards the oppression of Native peoples. Interview some Native Americans to find out their perspectives about their cultural traditions and celebrations and their opinions of the European American Thanksgiving holiday. Related Activities/Extensions Research and recognize how other cultures celebrate harvest Resources:

Corn Investigation Homework Group Data Collection Form Names of group members:

1. Discuss homework questions 1 and 2. Did you notice any patterns about what people in your group chose to share with someone at home? What about in the questions or comments?

2. List all of the products your group discovered with corn as an ingredient.

3. Did any of the products surprise you?

4. Share your corn stories and corn recipes. Do you notice any patterns in what people shared? Do you have any questions? What do you notice about corn and its importance to people?

Corn Mural Plan


*Remember, your mural needs to show what your group has learned about corn and its importance in history AND today!

Sketch what your mural will look like:

What supplies do you need?

What do you want people who see your mural to learn about corn?

Name_____________________ Date______________ Corn Investigation Homework


You are becoming a certified Corn Expert! Talk with someone at home about what youve learned so far about corn. Fill out this sheet and return it to class by ___________. 1. Write one important thing you told someone at home that you learned about corn?

2. Who did you talk to?_____________________________________________ One question or comment from that person was:

3.

Name at least one product you found in your home where an ingredient was corn.

Write a corn story that is important to your family. For example, in my family we have a tradition of going to the MN State Fair and eating as many pieces of roasted corn on the cob as we can. One time my stepmom and I both ate 6 ears of corn! You may also attach any corn recipe and an explanation of why it is important to your family or culture.

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