Native American Heritage Project: The Three Sisters

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Celebrate Native American Heritage Month, and discover the importance of the Three Sisters. This fully-resourced pack explores how Indigenous communities use traditional knowledge of agriculture and immerse students in Native American culture to create a unique and meaningful mini-unit.

Lesson Plans for Native American History Month

This detailed, meaningful, and well-resourced social studies project provides a clear lesson plan with an accompanying teaching guide, student worksheets, videos, and additional resource lists. It explores the link between Indigenous peoples and ecological farming practices both past and present. Discover how Native American history and traditional teachings around the Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) have informed contemporary Native American farming practices.

The overall objective for this project is that students will understand Indigenous permaculture as an approach to agricultural design that includes whole systems thinking and considers the co-habitation of plant, animal, and human beings. Students will also learn how to apply traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) when growing and living amongst corn, beans, and squash, also known as “the three sisters.”

This lesson is designed for use in upper-division, high school classes, but it can be modified for earlier grade levels, as well as college-level curriculum use. This project is perfect for incorporating into your social studies lessons for Native American Heritage Month during the month of November or leading up to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October.

What's Inside

This comprehensive project pack for high school students includes everything you need to deliver a series of 4 lessons on Indigenous permaculture, a system of American Indian agriculture. Explore Native American culture and learn about the Three Sisters with oral histories, research activities, and quizzes.

This printable PDF download includes:

  • Standards-aligned interactive lesson plan
  • Step-by-step teaching guide
  • Objectives and assessment Map
  • Printable student worksheets with answer keys
  • Links to supporting videos, readings, and additional teaching resources.
  • Students will be exposed to the concept of Mother Earth
  • Students will understand the origins of how corn, beans, and squash came together and the oral histories that Indigenous cultures passed this knowledge to future generations in relation to current scientific understandings
  • Students will understand the soil science behind a traditional three sisters garden
  • Students will understand the roles of each of the three sisters plants and how they individually complement their togetherness on Mother Earth
  • Students will gain knowledge of the preparation of soil for the three sisters and irrigation techniques
  • Students will learn about the lunar correlation with the growth of each of the three sisters
  • Students will become familiar with the (3) plants’ stages of growth.

Bioneers: Revolution From The Heart Of Nature ​​​​​​​​


​​​​Bioneers is an innovative nonprofit organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet, with dynamic programs and initiatives focused on game-changing initiatives related to Restorative Food Systems, Biomimicry, Rights of Nature, Indigeneity, Women’s Leadership, and Youth Leadership. Their Indigeneity Program provides accurate and contemporary information about Indigenous science, media, and curriculum for social change.

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