Lesson Four – Changing Gardens and Evolving Fields

A hoe made from stone. Drawing by Larry Porter.

A hoe made from stone. Drawing by Larry Porter.


In Lesson 3, students learned how archeologists identified evidence for southeastern Indians’ domestication of a variety of plant foods. Through time, plant foods continued to be an important part of people’s diets, as the local domesticates were replaced by other plants — especially corn, beans, and squash — domesticated by Indians from ancient Mexico. The shift from foraging to gardening to agriculture changed Native American foodways and this in turn changed other aspects of culture for people living during the Mississippi Period (AD 900-1600). In this lesson, students learn about American Indian views on how their ancestors first acquired corn, beans, and squash, explore how and why certain locations were better suited for large scale agriculture, and examine maps of Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian sites to identify similarities and differences between people living during successive time periods with different foodways, living arrangements, and community organization.


The educator and student materials from the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture curriculum are included here to help make teaching easier. The activity sheets can be easily downloaded and photocopied. The PowerPoint includes all of the materials that may need to be projected while teaching this lesson. To request a copy of the curriculum, contact Nancy Smith at nms011@uark.edu or (479) 575-3556.


Educator Materials

Foodways and the Environment: Answer Key

The Legend of the Three Sisters

Mississippi Period Timeline – Answer Key

Lesson Four – PowerPoint


Student Materials

Parkin, 1350 – 1600 AD: A Case Study

Foodways and the Environment

Mississippi Period Timeline

Three Sisters Succotash Recipes


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