The finale of our three-week unit on Native American food cultures featured wild rice harvested by hand by the Red Lake Nation, a band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. We started the class by watching two videos: Food That Grows on Water and White Earth Wild Rice Harvest. The students were impressed at how the Chippewa pole their way through the rice in canoes and how they harvest the wild rice (which are actually grass seeds) with the help of two sticks.
We made a simple pancake batter and incorporated cooked wild rice as well as another ingredient from the Chippewa diet, cranberries. Room 202 made small pancakes and Room 201 made giant ones. All were topped with pure maple syrup, a food Native Americans produced long before Europeans arrived on the continent. We closed the class by going around the circle and sharing a highlight of our time together. We feel so grateful to have shared these brief but meaningful culinary adventures with our graduating fifth graders and look forward to more time in the kitchen classroom next year with the fourth graders!