Native Plants, Native People

In this hands-on interdisciplinary program, students in grades 3–8 will explore the interrelationship between nature and the Native American tribes who lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Schools may choose to participate in all or some of the following hour-long learning stations:

Three Sisters
Iroquois legend holds that corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who must grow and thrive together. In a visit to the Arboretum’s Funshine Garden, students will discover how this tradition of interplanting, widespread among Native American farming societies, fosters a sustainable, sophisticated system of long-term soil fertility, as well as a healthy diet. Students will participate in a Native American green corn dance and help care for the Three Sisters garden.

A Wigwam Is My Home
Unlike Native Americans of the West, Eastern Woodland Native Americans did not live in tepees. Rather, they constructed wigwams and longhouses. Students will explore model wigwams at Paw Paw Playground, discuss animal symbols central to Native American spirituality, and craft animal “petroglyphs” to take home.

Hunter Gatherers
How did Native Americans survive and thrive on Maryland’s Eastern Shore? An Arboretum docent naturalist will lead students on an edible wildlife walk along the scenic Blockston Branch, culminating in a discussion of traps, nets, atlatls, and an opportunity for students to test their aim with a model bow and arrow.

Maryland’s Native Americans
Who left the first human footprints on Maryland’s soil? As wooly mammoths and dire wolves were vanishing from the area, who witnessed their decline? Students will compare and contrast Paleo, Archaic, and Woodland Indian societies, then create a living map of the tribes who lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Native Plants, Native People is aligned with the following Maryland Standards:
• Maryland Content Standards for Social Studies 2Ac, d; 5A2a (Peoples of the Nation and World, Individuals and Societies Change Over Time)
• Next Generation Science Standards LS2C; ESS3C (Ecosystems and Human Impact)
• Common Core Curriculum Language Arts Standards RI1, RI3 (Reading Informational Texts)
• Maryland Content Standards for Visual Arts 2.0 (Historical, Cultural, and Social Context)