Red Trunk Project

sample Oaxaca trunk

Sample Lessons: METATE

Support materials:

  • Recipe for students to make tortillas at home
  • Tortilla press

Mini Docs:
1) How a metate is made from lava stone.

2) How a metate is used for different recipes.

  • Without telling them what it is, have students explore the metate in small groups by answering these questions. What is it made of?  What do you think it was used for? Who uses it? How is it used?  Does this object tell you anything about the culture in which it is used?  Students can present their interpretations via a skit, story, song, poem, drawing, or other expressions. (NYC SS 3.4; SS Practices A, C; Literacy.SL.3.4 )
  • By inquiry and questioning encourage students to determine the use for the objects (i.e. metate to grind). How does the object’s form follow its function? How is the object decorative and practical at the same time? Students could create an advertisement for their object, such as a storyboard or commercial; or write a persuasive essay on why this is the best tool for the function needed. (NYS Arts 1; Literacy.W.3.1)
  • Compare this object to a counterpart from students’ cultures. How are the objects similar and different? How do students account for the similarities and differences? (NYC SS 3.5)
  • Allow students to use their senses to come up with descriptive words for the metate. Write each word on an index card. Have students work in small groups to use the index card words and use them to create a 3-line poem that includes describes the object, the person whom they think uses it, and what it tells them about this person or the artisan who made it. (Literacy.L.3.1; 3.3; 3.5)
  • Students should research how tortillas are made today using mass production. Then, the class can make tortillas using pre-ground corn (masa harina). How does this differ from making tortillas with corn ground on a metate? Tie into this research the availability of tortillas where they live. Have tortillas always been readily available in their grocery stores? Does Mexican food appear to be an important part of local restaurants? What does this tell us about Mexican culture, immigration, and life in the United States? (Literacy.W.3.7; Math3.OA.B6; 3.MD.A.2; 3.NF.A.1)
  • This object could be used in conjunction with the basket, the spices used to make a mole, and the pottery. Students could role play how the objects are used, and bring in similar objects from their cultures to compare/contrast.

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Red Trunk Project

Red Trunk Project

Red Trunk Project

Red Trunk Project®

Red Trunk Project