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Three Sisters Sprouts

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Summary

Students will observe parts of a plant and seeds and how seeds grow into plants. Students will explore what seeds need to sprout and what plants need to grow. Students will examine and identify the differences between the Three Sisters seeds (corn, squash, and beans).

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coin

Objectives

  • Students will observe parts of a plant and seeds and how seeds grow into plants.
  • Students will explore what seeds need to sprout and what plants need to grow.
  • Students will examine and identify the differences between the Three Sisters seeds (corn, squash, and beans).

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Sorting and describing simple similarities and differences between objects
  • Basic differences between plants and seeds

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Seed
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Stalk
  • Sprout
  • Similarity
  • Difference
  • Native American
  • Three Sisters of Agriculture

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • “How Our Seeds Grow” worksheet
    • “Three Sisters of Agriculture” information page
  • 1 copy of each of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • “Seed Comparison Chart” worksheet
    • “How Our Seeds Grow” worksheet
    • “Three Sisters of Agriculture” information page
  • Images of corn, bean, and squash plants
  • Large number of corn, bean, and squash seeds
  • Bean seeds for sprouting (mung beans work well)
  • Corn seeds for examining in pairs
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Chart paper
  • Rubber gloves (check whether any students have latex allergies)
  • Cotton balls
  • Small cups

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of each of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • “How Our Seeds Grow” worksheet
    • “Three Sisters of Agriculture” information page
  • Make copies of each of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page (1 per student)
    • “Seed Comparison Chart” worksheet (1 per student)
    • "How Our Seeds Grow" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Three Sisters of Agriculture" information page (1 per student)
  • Locate books or bookmark Internet sites that contain images of corn, beans, and squash for students to examine.
  • Make up large cups of seeds (corn, bean, and squash) for the mosaic in Session 1 (1 cup per student).
  • Make up small cups of seeds (one each of bean, squash, and corn per cup, 1 cup per student) for the students to examine in Session 2.
  • Lay out rubber gloves (2 per student), wet cotton balls (5 per student), dry cotton balls (5 per student), and cups of mung bean seeds (10 seeds per cup, 1 cup per student) for the experiment in Session 3.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/131.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Describe the Native American $1 Coin Program for background information.
  2. Display the “2009 Native American $1 Coin” overhead transparency. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse and “obverse” is another name for the front. With the students, examine the coin design, which is on the reverse of the 2009 Native American $1 Coin.
  3. Distribute a “Three Sisters of Agriculture” information page to each student. Display the “Three Sisters of Agriculture” overhead transparency and read the description aloud while the students follow along. Ask the students for ideas about why the Native Americans chose the name “sisters” for the three seeds.
  4. Have the students examine some photos of corn, squash, and bean plants from any online source or book. Have them guess which plant is which and explain their answer using evidence from the reading. Guide student responses by asking about which plant in the photos is the tallest, has the largest leaves, grows close to the ground, and grows on poles or fences or other plants.
  5. Lead them to conclude that the tall stalks are corn, the climbing plant is bean, and the low vine is squash.
  6. Distribute a “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page to each student and one large cup of corn, bean, and squash seeds to each student. Have the students use the “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page as a template and glue the corn, bean, or squash seeds onto the template to make a seed mosaic of the design. Display student work around the classroom.

Session 2

  1. Review the information from the previous lesson about the Three Sisters of Agriculture. Pass out a small cup of three seeds to each student and a magnifying lens to each pair of students. Have them take out the corn seed inspect it.
  2. Point out the hard shell and ask the students to locate and examine the tiny hole that allows water to enter into the seed to help the seed to sprout.
  3. Ask the students if they know what it means to sprout. Explain that they will be learning about sprouting.
  4. Distribute a “Seed Comparison Chart” worksheet to each student. Have the students examine the corn, bean, and squash seeds and record the similarities and differences on the worksheet.
  5. On chart paper, create a T-chart and label one column “similarities” and one column “differences.” Title the T-chart “Seed Comparison Chart.” Lead a class discussion and have the students share some of the similarities and differences they observed. Record the student answers on the chart paper.
  6. Collect the students’ worksheets.

Session 3

  1. Review the T-chart from the previous session.
  2. Explain to the students that they will be conducting an experiment. Give each student the following items:
    • 2 rubber gloves
    • Small cup with 5 damp cotton balls
    • Small cup with 5 dry cotton balls
    • Small cup with 10 dry mung bean seeds
  3. Have the students place the first 5 beans into 5 wet cotton balls and then place the wet cotton balls into the fingers of one of the gloves. Help students with this as needed. Call the gloves “garden gloves” and tape the gloves to each student’s desk.
  4. Have the students place the second 5 beans into the 5 dry cotton balls and then place the dry cotton balls into the fingers of the other glove. Tape the second glove to each student’s desk.
  5. Distribute a “How Our Seeds Grow” worksheet to each student. Tell the students that they are going to observe their garden gloves every day as a class and look for changes. Lead the students in a discussion about what kinds of differences they might look for.
  6. Take a few minutes each day for the next 5 days to have the class check the gloves and tell you what changes they notice. Have each student record these changes on the “How Our Seeds Grow” worksheet.
  7. After most of the students have at least one sprouting seed in their glove, lead a class discussion on how the seeds have changed over time.
  8. Have the students fill out the “How Our Seeds Grow” question sheet at the end of the 5-day experiment. Lead the students to conclude that seeds can sprout if they have water.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students who have difficulty with the garden glove activity use a resealable plastic food storage bag and let the seeds sprout as a class project.
  • For students with reading difficulty, display visuals of corn, bean, and squash plants in a garden during the reading.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Bring in some corn, beans, and squash for students to see what the fruits of the fully grown plants look like.
  • Have students create a school “Three Sisters Garden” in a sunny spot.
  • Have students continue the experiment by growing all three kinds of seeds in cups and comparing the growth and changes in each kind of seed.
  • Have students act out the parts of the sprouting seeds with a creative movement activity. Have them reenact the story of a seed as it sprouts and goes from seed to plant.

Use the students’ class participation, worksheets, and “garden gloves” to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–4
Standards:

  • Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
  • Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Life Science
Grade(s): Grades K–4
Standards:

  • Characteristics of organisms
  • Life cycles of organisms
  • Organisms and environments

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