Monday, April 15, 2024

Native American Gardening

April 15th is the last frost date for our region, and the perfect day for the Bongos to start their new Measurement block! We are doing two real-life measurement projects outside this Spring while the weather is warm.

The first is a Three Sisters Garden; we will be using Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects and Recipes for Families by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac.

The second is a Cob Bread Oven; we will be using Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Zenzer and Hannah Field.

If you've been keeping up with the color coding we use in our plan books, you'll know that these projects combine three colors! They are Purple for Practical Life, Blue for Mathematics, and Green for Science & Nature.

(Building cardboard boats for the 49th Annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta on April 20th has been another real-life measurement project for this school year. It takes 30 hours to make a boat, so we began way back in January.)

Here are my notes for this year's garden planning & planting:

Mon Apr 15

    read "Onenha, The Corn" (Tuscarora - Northeast), pp.1-4

    brainstorm units of measurement; write each one on a slip of paper

    work in small groups to arrange the paper slips into categories

    compare how the other group's arrangement is similar to or different from your group's

    notice that there are both Imperial and Metric units

    choose location for the Three Sisters Garden (our old Mulch Mountain, which has been the Heirloom Pumpkin Patch for the last few years and has volunteer pumpkin plants already sprouting in it)

    review how to use a yardstick

    work in pairs to measure the garden; sketch it on graph paper

Tue Apr 16

    read "The Grasshopper's Song" (Zuni - Southwest), pp.25-27

    read "Understanding and Appreciating Other Cultures," pp.21-23

    review units of measurement; consider a new way of grouping them

    discuss the organization of the metric system (base unit + prefix), look at the prefixes for x10, x100, x1000 (based on Greek words) and ÷10, ÷100, ÷1000 (based on Latin words)

    redraw yesterday's garden sketch on a fresh piece of graph paper; add color, title, and key (scale: 1 square = 1 yd / 3 ft / 36 in)

    add Garden Map to MLB

    rough draft and add list of plants in a Three Sisters Garden to MLB

    sketch bee swarm as it arrived at our swarm trap! (on Sunday afternoon a beekeeper from Dayempur Farm put a swarm trap in our bald cypress tree, as he does every year, and we saw bees scouting it during recess... then, when we were outside sketching, the entire swarm arrived and moved into the box while the children watched!)

Wed Apr 17

    read A Weed Is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki

    look carefully at our baby plants in order to recognize them and then weed out unwanted plants (keep pumpkins in the Three Sisters Garden, keep Joe Pye weed and milkweed in the Pollinator Garden)

    do two Soil Science lessons (Four Components of Productive Soil and The Apple Lesson

    review the importance of pollinators

    rough draft and add Bee Swarm to MLB

    I've been teaching these Soil Science lessons since 2011. This is the first time I've reversed the order and done The Apple Lesson second; I liked it a lot better this way. For Four Components of Productive Soil I used a dollar bill and 20 nickels from The Allowance Game. I put the dollar bill in front of a living plant (the baby persimmon tree), and seeing a thriving plant really seemed to help them think about the "recipe" for productive soil. Then we went through the four bags in the usual way. It was a huge hit!

Thu Apr 18

    rough draft and add Soil Science to MLB

Mon Apr 22

    read "The Farmer Who Wanted to Be a Jaguar" (Lacandon Maya - Middle America), pp.58-60

    read page 5 as well as "Useful Plants of Native Origin," pp.7-8

    observe and carefully sketch our baby plants in the garden, how have they changed since Wed? (pumpkins getting their first true leaves)

    continue weeding our garden beds as needed

    begin The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly as our lunchtime read aloud

    plant dissection - look at dried white beans and sugar snap peas, compare to ones that have been soaked overnight, open a bean and show the baby plant inside, will there be baby plants in the peas as well? give each child a hand lens and a soaked bean or pea to open

    open up the packets for our four kinds of beans from Annie's Heirloom Seeds and compare how each bean is different, put one of each bean into a dish of water to soak overnight so we can look for baby plants inside tomorrow!

    introduce our next experiment ("Make a Plant Grow Down Instead of Up" from p.49 of The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro) and give the children time to think overnight about their ideas

Tue Apr 23

    begin area & perimeter problems in Morning Math and solve them using the Montessori math manipulatives

    perimeter problems are addition (Stamp Game, Dot Game)
    area problems are multiplication (Checker Board)

    read "The Bean Woman" (Tutelo - Southeast), pp.61-64

    read "Bridges: From Legends to Life," pp.64-65

    dissect soaked bean seads from yesterday

    discuss monocots vs dicots

    rehydrate peat pellets for planting

    lay down cardboard weed block in the Pollinator Garden

    sketch out initial experiment designs

Wed Apr 24

    continue to practice area & perimeter in Morning Math

    answer question, which part of the baby plant comes out first? look at pictures in Morning Glories by Sylvia Johnson (pp.6, 8-9, 11)

    answer question, how long can seeds sit dormant and still grow? read The Miracle Seed by Martin Lemelman

    review monocots & dicots, look closely at illustrations on back of seed packets and find cotyledons

    start sunflower seeds in peat pellets

    add baby pumpkin plant sketches to MLB

    use our handy-dandy Mound Template (18 inch square) and a pool noodle (the distance from the center of one mound to the center of the next mound is 4 feet) to figure out how many mounds we can fit in our Three Sisters Garden, put a stick to mark the center of each

Thu Apr 25

    continue to practice area & perimeter in Morning Math

    read Dragonfly's Tale retold by Kristina Rodanas

    measure (using Mound Template) and build 12 mounds

    make grid of 3 inch squares on 9x12 inch green construction paper and make a diagram of the 12 mounds, add key (C=corn, B=beans, SQ=squash), rough draft and add explanation of mounds to MLB

    look at slides through microscope
    #3 - cross-section of sunflower stem
    #4 - cross-section of young root of broad bean
    #7 - cross-section of pumpkin stem
    #10 - cross-section of Zea stem

Mon Apr 29

    continue to practice area & perimeter in Morning Math

    divide into teams for our plant experiment (Mirror Team, Shoebox Team, Tube Team, Lamp Team), sketch design and write materials list, start nasturtium seeds in peat pellets, build experiment designs

    the Mirror Team is hanging a plant upside above a mirror, hoping that the mirror will reflect the sunlight and trick the plant into thinking that the sun is below it

    the Shoebox Team is using a shoebox with a small circular opening in the bottom to force the plant to grow down in order to reach the only available sunlight

    the Tube team is attaching a cardboard tube to the plant pot and then flipping the pot upside down to force the plant to grow down and through the tube

    the Lamp Team is hanging a plant upside down in a dark room above a lamp, hoping that the plant will grow in the direction of the only available light

Tue Apr 30

    continue to practice area & perimeter in Morning Math

    define the boundaries of our Three Sisters Garden by laying landscape timbers along the perimeter

    transplant sunflower seedlings (north side of the garden)

    add plant experiment design to MLB, leave room for our results!

Wed May 1

    put in U-posts and stretch the wire fencing around the garden

Thu May 2

Sun May 5

    plant corn (5 Double Standard, 5 Montauk)

    plant beans
    North - Scarlet Runner
    South - Marvel of Venice
    East - Rattlesnake
    West - Lazy Housewife

Mon May 6

Tue May 7

    check on garden, put a wall of sticks around each baby corn plant so that it can withstand strong winds without breaking

Wed May 8

Thu May 9

    check on garden

Mon May 13

Tue May 14

Wed May 15

Thu May 16

    check on garden, replant bean seeds for any sections (N / S / E / W) that don't have viable bean plants

Mon May 20

    check on garden, make bamboo tipis for any mounds that don't have viable corn plants (so that the beans have something to climb)

Tue May 21

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