Category: Curriculum

Mining Activity – November 2013

By , November 23, 2013

IMG_0686Non-renewable resources are limited. When it’s gone it’s gone. To better understand what a non-renewable resource is students “mined” a chocolate-chip cookie.

On an bird’s eye view picture of a landscape filled with trees, lakes, animals and plants (a mining area grid) students traced their cookie. With a toothpick  students “mined” the chocolate chips from the cookie. Students also outlined the area of the “crumbs”.

The goal was to extract the chips, not keep the cookie en tact. The strategies included: jamming the tooth pick into the cookie, crushing the cookies, chip broke, the tooth pick broke. Extracted chip totaled over 25/cookie.

Re claim the land using only the toothpick. Move chocolate chips and “cookie” back into the original circle of the cookie prior to “mining”. Do we think mining companies struggle with the same problem?

Discussion concerning the practices of mining and the financial gain to be made by the mining company vs. the affect on the landscape, water quality, plants and animals.

IMG_0682IMG_0673Reflection writing:

What was my original goal when I started mining the cookie? What difficulties did I have while mining my cookie?

If I were to mine another cookie what would my new goal be and why?

How is your experience similar or different than the goals and difficulties of reclaiming operations?

Give an example of a time you had to make a choice. What did you choose to do and what was the opportunity cost of that choice?

 

 

By , February 16, 2013

February manoomin was shorten due to a blizzard, but while at camp students continued work with the LacCore Scientists (macrofossils, diatoms and phytoliths), celebrated Valentines Day by making cards for each other, baking layered cupcakes as well as snowshoeing.  We continue to “connect the dots” through concept maps and note taking. We continue to depend on each other as we learn.

 

Students design T-shirts as they continue their study with LacCore

By , February 3, 2013

redshirtwlogoFrontMacrofossilgreenshirtFront copydiatom2Tshirtdesign_blackshirtFrontFINAL copyStudents continued their study of Bang Lake’s macrofossils, phytoliths and diatoms. Identyfication with continued clarification by LacCore scientists is building on a becoming familiar with the different terms through hands on learning.

T-shirt designs were created by each group. Groups will share what they each learn to the entire group weekly. A large poster of the Bang Lake core is being developed which will include not only what each group finds in their core but the oral tradition and stories of events at or near Bang Lake.

Giving to our Community

By , February 3, 2013

IMG_0133IMG_0041IMG_0109IMG_0134IMG_0210Considering our community and being actively involved in keeping it healthy anchored manoomin in January 2013. Friday night’s first activity was making birdhouses for our elders. Students worked in small groups constructing houses to be given out. Wood burned designs personalized the houses.

Saturday afternoon thru the early evening students served food at the 13 Moons Pow Wow at the Black Bear Casino. It is estimated nearly 1,000 people were served. Elders were brought a plate by the young people.

Service to our community is an important part of gidakiimanaaniwigamig.

Gathering Stories of Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012

 

1916 Bang Lake

Through the core a record of our history can be observed. Our study began on Friday night as Tom Howes, FDL Natural Resources introduced Bang Lake.  He shared data collected by Fond du Lac elders about the wild rice harvest back many years. We also looked at maps of the Fond du lac Reservation beginning in 1916 that demonstrated significate changes in the landscape.

Students began their own observations Saturday afternoon by cutting open the core collected that morning and making thier own observations. The two cores were noticeably different – one more dense than the other. Lowana Greensky led students through a discussion on the dating of core beginning in 1500/bottom of our core to 2012/present-top of our core.  Significant dates in history were identified along the length of the core – 1492 Columbus reaches North America;  1787 -1803 Northwest Territory; 1803 Louisiana Purchase; 1837 Michigan became a state; 1836, 1837,  1842, and 1854 Treaties between the United States and the Ojibwe bands in which  they ceded lands in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota but retained the  right to hunt, fish and gather on he lands they sold; 1848 Wisconsin becomes a state; 1858 Minnesota becomes a state;  1861–65 Civil War; and  1924 The Indian Citizenship Act.

Later that afternoon Louis Wise talked about growing up near Bang Lake on Perch Lake. Educated as a biologist Mr. Wise has worked with the DNR and FDL Natural Resources. He explained the role beavers and muskrats played in the wild rice. He told stories about his Grandma controlling the water level by opening and closing the damn. He told stories about sitting on his Dad’s shoulders and seeing nearly 400 muskrat houses on Perch Lake.

He descibed how wild rice needs abrupt oxygen, temperature and nutritional changes to grow. The water levels had to be brought down in January creating an open space below the ice/above the water. Come April the ice break up and drop down, creating waves (open water), allowing oxygen into the water earlier than other lakes. Also, because the water level was tended to be lower the sun would then  could reach the bottom, warming the seeds creating a temperature change. The seeds could then germinate.

Many discussion and review of all we had heard was had between student and staff alike. We hope to continue the discussion during each gathering to better understand our history with wild rice.

Coring Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012

This years study of manoomin will be based in the core and samples collected during November’s camp. Students observed LacCore/Natural Resources scientists as they collected two cores and  live diatoms (water) from the edge of Bang Lake.

It was an unusually warm Fall day. The sky was a mixture of overcast and sunshine. Even though the lake had frozen over, the thin ice kept students close to shore as they completed their work of gathering and bagging seeds and vegetation samples. By completing a number of prepared questions students were directed in their observation,  research and ID of trees and plants (macrofossils).  Students collected information in a variety of ways – for example, written description a species of trees, bush and grasses were identified by their GPS location, seeds collected and bagged, plant samples collected and bagged, sun-prints, drawings, and digital photographs.

 

 

Water Quality

By , August 26, 2012

Miner’s Lake outside Ely. Sulfide level 21

Lake Superior south shore. Sulfide level 0

Wherever we traveled students took water samples to track the health of the water. Based on our continued study of the St. Louis River watershed through River Watch activities. Tests were conducted to determine dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates, phosphates, and biochemical oxygen demand.

Miner’s Lake when it was an active mine supplied  WWI  and WWII with iron ore. Currently the pit is about 140 feet deep. Water naturally filled the hole in once the mining was done. Today it is a great fishing lake.

 

Invasive Species – Great Lakes Superior Aquarium

By , August 26, 2012

Invasive Species Game

Terminology

Educational displays at Aquarium

Keeping our water and land free of invasive species takes all of us doing our part. Considering what we dump into the waterways and ground before hand can make all the difference.

Visiting the Great Lakes Aquarium helped  us learn more about native vs. invasive fresh water aquatic plants and fish. Through games students simulated how aquatic invasive plants and fish change the natural balance. They either eat too much of a plant needed by another native fish or grow too fast overtaking other plants that would typically grow in that environment. Any change affects everything. Eventually the native species can not compete and either die away or move.

It was particularly interesting to learn that gold fish dumped into a small pond negatively affects the pond tremendously. Goldfish eat a lot, changing the vegetation and ability for other animals to breed and grow. If you have a goldfish and are unable to care for it it is best to give it to someone else to take care of rather than a near by pond. A pond near to UMD had to be drained completely , cleaned and refilled because of the  of gold fish population taking over the native species and the connection of the pond stream feeding into Lake Superior.

Bad River Fishery

By , August 26, 2012

Release Tanks at Fishery, Bad River Reservation, Odanah, WI

About 2,000 Coastal Brook Trout are raised from eggs and released when a year old into rivers and streams.

The health of our water and land was part of each lesson and activity. While visiting in Odanah we toured the reservations fishery. The fishery raises Walleye and Coastal Brook Trout from eggs for up to 7 years and then releases them. Each tank held a specific species and age of fish.

Lake Superior shore near Ashland

We also spent time swimming in Lake Superior. As expected it was cold and refreshing.

 

Wing Young Huie “Chalk Talk” Photography

By , August 26, 2012

Our first night together we looked at the work of Wing Young Huie. Mr. Huie , born in Duluth currently lives and works in the Twin Cities as a photographer. He has spent a considerable amount of time asking himself the very questions we asked ourselves through this activity. Based on the University Ave Project in Minneapolis Huie’s photographs confront many divisive social issues, such as cultural bias, immigration, religion, and social disconnection.

Contrasting points of views are engaged when viewing Huie’s  photographs demonstrating how what we perceive to be true may be open to interpretation.  By asking “What do you see?” a dialogue is facilitated before revealing the stories behind the photographs. Participating in activities such as this in a safe environment such as camp allows deeper discussion into the complexities of cultural and personal perceptions.

How are we impacted by the daily consumption of countless images created by marketing forces, the media, and popular entertainment? How can we differentiate our authentic selves from idealized realities? Do we become what we see? In other words: How do photographs form us?

Huie’s photographs allowed students to better see and understand their own perceptions of themselves as well as of  others. Through participation in the “Chalk Talk” lesson Huie developed for his own photography work along University Ave in Minneapolis students interviewed each other. Choosing another manoomin student they may not have known too well students asked open ended questions provided and interviewed each other.  They asked the  following questions:

1 Describe you life in one word.
2.What advise would you give to a stranger new to the area?
3.What is your favorite word?
4. How do you think other see you? What don’t they see?
5. How has race affected you?
6. Describe an incident that changed you.
7. What are the hopes and fears of a person your age?

It proved to be a welcomed activity, uncomfortable at times but good for us to do together.

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