Our Trip to Willowgrove
This year, Canada is celebrating 150 years old. We thought it would be fun to learn about Canada's earliest people, The First Nations. The First Nations People were also the people who discovered maple syrup. We began our maple syrup inquiry by asking the question, "Where do we get maple syrup?" and we made a chart (we honor all answers that the children give).
|We got lots of answers such as, "maple syrup comes from a store!"|
After collecting many different theories on how we get maple syrup, we read several books telling about how maple syrup is made. We learned that maple syrup comes from maple trees and it starts from a liquid called "sap".
We also read that the sap needs to be boiled at a very high temperature for a long time so that it can thicken into maple syrup. We also read books and watched stories about The First Nations or Aboriginal people who still live in Canada.
Then we went on a trip to Willogrove Outdoor Education Centre, where we met Farmer Marie. We watched a puppet show where we learned many things about maple syrup:
- The First Nations people discovered maple syrup. They would use a hollowed out log and hot rocks to boil the maple syrup until it was thick.
- Maple syrup comes from a maple tree and you can tell it is a maple tree by the three B's - bark (dark grey/brown and rough); branches (sit opposite from each other); and buds (buds aren't out yet)
- The tree must have a trunk which is at least 62 cm around (older tree) for one bucket of sap and you can only tap up to 3 buckets
- The tree is ready for tapping in the early spring when the nights are cold and the days are warmer and sunny
- The hole is made with a drilling tool called an "auger"
- A spout is put in the tree called a "spile" and a bucket is hung to collect the sap
We learned that today, sap is boiled in a house with 3 walls or a building with a hole in the ceiling. The container that boils the sap is called an "evaporator" and it has a fire underneath it. It takes 40 cups of sap to make one cup of maple syrup!
We Got to Tap a Maple Tree and Taste the Sap!!!
Then we got to taste maple syrup.
Farmer Marie told us that the First Nations people discovered how to make maple syrup and then they showed the first settlers when they came to Canada.
We found a video from Historica Canada on how this happened; watch the video here: https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/syrup
The First Nations People passed on how to make maple syrup to the early settlers.
|Eating yummy pancakes and maple syrup at school!|
First Nations Inspired Art
We read several books about the Aboriginal people. Many of these books showed that the Aboriginal people have a deep respect for nature and animals. Many of their sacred teachings have animal symbols that teach about strength, kindness, respect, and treating others respectfully - much like similar teachings that we learn in our Catholic Faith. We looked at Ojibway and Inuit Art and read many storybooks which feature animal symbols.
We made some of this art in our learning centres.