Asfia Gulrukh Kamal is a doctoral student at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba. She is studying under Dr. Wanda Wuttenee, an internationally known professor and researcher in the eld of Aboriginal Community Economic Development. Asfia is currently researching the impact of hydro flooding over traditional food resources in northern Manitoba Indigenous communities. She has been working with O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN) since 2010. Community engagement and Indigenous ways of knowing are the methodologies which inform Asfia’s inquiry process through all phases, from participatory community led design to dissemination.

Ideas for the Classroom

The video, The Three Sisters: Renewing the World, can serve as a catalyst for a diverse range of learning experiences related to science, history, agriculture, creative learning, and literature. The complexity of the project can be modified to suit any grade.

Activating Interest

Create an idea rich environment. Fill the room with examples of corn, beans, and squash. Provide maps of Manitoba that illustrate growing seasons. Images, books, and farming tools can stimulate thinking and provoke questions. Ask the students to think about what a plant needs to survive? What food stuff is grown in your location? Where does the food you eat come from? How far does it have to travel? Gather student questions and post them for easy reference.

Pre View

Invite students to consider the title of the lm. What do you think it is about? What information does it give you? Who produced it? Explain that you intend to view the lm a few times together.


For the first time, just watch and listen. Challenge them to see how much information they can take away from their first viewing experience.

In subsequent viewings, watch all or part of the video together as a group.

In small groups, create a graffiti board of the big ideas in the lm. Draw attention to common responses. All ideas are affirmed and valued.

Create a Graffiti Board

Graffiti boarding, “enables a small group to share and record what they know and wonder about a topic” (Short, Harste, Burke, 1996.) Students need easy access to markers and big sheets of paper. Every member of the group is invited to express their thinking through words or drawings. Visuals can build and expand on ideas generated.

Eworkshop on-line teaching resource:

Facing History:

Research and Representation

Work with a partner. Distribute kernels of corn to each pair. Examine them and share observations. What do you know or want to know about corn? How can you find answers to your questions? Markers and paper are readily available.

Create Tableaux

With your partner draw the seeds in relationship with what they need to grow. Share your work with the rest of the class.

  • Form groups of 4 or 5. Create a series of tableaux that illustrate the connections identified by the class.
  • Choose an organic element in nature (a pumpkin, an insect, a piece of grass etc.)

Tell the story of your relationship to it in words, numbers, drawing, dance or song. Share your story.