Maple Syrup Snow Cones
13 Moons Unit (Agriculture and Maple Syrup)
Moon 4: Sogalikas (Sugar Maker Moon)
Intended Grade Level: Grade 1/2
Preparation for the Activity:
An introduction of the activity will include contextualizing the time of year that this moon corresponds to the modern day calendar. In order to give adequate background information ask some of these introductory questions:
- Do any of you know what a maple tree looks like?
- What do humans get from maple trees?
- Do you think we have any maple trees near our school?
Following these basic introductory questions have a discussion with students about the indigenous context of maple syrup- to hear from Indigenous Peoples, play aloud the following podcast to give this food an indigenous context:
Story of Gluskabe and how maple syrup became available to humans (Recorded by with Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective and story told by Paul Pouliot- Sag8mo of the Cowasuck Band of Pennacook-Abenaki)
The following questions can be asked for reflection following the podcast:
- What does this story tell us about how people collected maple syrup?
- Why is it important for humans to leave enough sap in the tree?
- What do you know about the relationship that the Alonback have with Mother Earth?
Focus Questions (these are here to help guide one’s teaching. Students should be able to answer these questions by the end of the lesson)
- What does it mean to gather one’s own food?
- How do we learn when is the best time to collect certain foods in nature?
- How do we know how much maple syrup to add in our recipe?
- What does this story teach us about working to collect food in nature?
Lesson Affordances (these are what big ideas students should take away from the lesson):
- Student will have a rudimentary grasp of sustainable practices such as never collecting more than the environment will support
- Students will be able to identify a maple tree and its parts in nature
- Maple trees can be identified by the “u-shapes” on their leaves and the dark brown and rough appearance of their bark and the branches grow opposite one another.
- Maple trees can be found almost everywhere in the United States but typically like to be in cooler climates, like the Northeast.
- Be able to follow a recipe (includes successful measurements and practicing following directions)
- Define words such as:
- Moderation: Never taking too much away from Mother Earth
- Gather: To pick or collect food
- Sharing: Humans share food in nature with other animals
Approximately 1 hour
- Bags of crushed ice
- Maple syrup
- Snow Cone cups (bowls or cups can be substituted)
Preface this lesson with the linked podcast of the Maple Syrup Story to give Abenaki context of the significance of maple syrup. Be sure to give ample time to discuss the story and the lessons it presents. This activity allows students to try tasting maple syrup. Once the story is discussed, move on to making the snow cones. Students can fill their own cones with crushed ice and the teacher can pour maple syrup over the ice.
We begin to introduce the importance of foraging and agriculture in indigenous life. We learn to identify a specific species, maple trees, in our area. Discuss the process of collecting sap and making maple syrup and during the moon in which that foraging would occur. There is practice of literacy skills while following the recipe and beginning to understand measuring. This helps students to understand the importance of resources of the land. It begins to introduce indigenous history with discussion of the significance of maple syrup and its chronological sequence in the 13 Moons Story. We introduce the topic by defining the time of year this type of food would be gathered and produced.
Supporting Resources and Possible Extensions:
- Exploring other indigenous recipes and food sources:
- Helpful guidelines from University of Maine to indicate maple trees and how to identify them
- NH Harvest of the Month- for more food based educational practices
Standards Met Through this Activity:
1. ELA Common Core Standards Met
2. C3 Framework Standards Met:
a. D2.Geo.6.K-2. :Identify some cultural and environmental characteristics of specific places.
b.D2. Geo.5.K-2: Describe how human activities affect the cultural and environmental characteristics of places/regions
c.D2.Hist.2.K-2.: Compare life in the past to life today.
d. D2.Eco.2.K-2.: Identify the benefits and costs of making various personal decisions