Guest Post

Three Sisters Gardening: Nutrition and Culture

3 Sister Sarah Braun Flicker sharing

An example of a Three Sister's garden (Photo: Sarah Braun Flicker Sharing).

The cultural and nutritional qualities of the Three Sisters

Guest Post: Anne Little Wolf with Karen McDonald

You may never have heard of the Three Sisters, but they are a part of most of our everyday lives, and as we enter the fall season you see them everywhere. The "sisters"  consist of maize (Zea mays), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and squash (Cucurbita pepo). These three plants were staple crops of many of the Northeast Native American tribes in the late prehistoric and historic periods.  Evidence for these crops dates back to Central and South America, with histories in the more recent North American Southwest, Plains, and Eastern North America. They were transported to Europe, and Africa, where they are eaten and grown together, much as Native Americans still do in this country.

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Part 1 of 2: Inquiry Based Science in the Classroom by Guest Blogger Ann Johnson

Inquiry_Learning wiki

Students Discover Scientific Principles through Inquiry Based Science And Learning

“Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Johnson!  THIS is exactly what I was talking about – right here!  See this: D-e-p-o-s-i-t-i-o-n.  This is EXACTLY what  I was talking about…you know when the really fast water moves all those pieces of  rocks and all those little rocks fall out of the water and end up somewhere new…this is EXACTLY IT!  This is EXACTLY what I said!”

I was hooked.  For the first time in my teaching career a student was excited about “deposition,”  “erosion,” and “weathering” - topics that I approached each year with a sense of dread. As amazing as those forces might be, my yearly earth science unit never failed to induce a state of drooling or daydreaming in my 4th and 5th grade students.  I taught with the usual suspects: photos of the Grand Canyon, the standard multi-syllable vocabulary, text passages loaded with main idea and detail, rock and soil samples and those cookbook “experiments” that dominated our curriculum.  It bored my students to death and frustrated me: I love earth science, and that love (not to mention the key science concepts) was not being transmitted to my students.

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