Acting Out the Planting of the Three Sisters

Part of the "Help a Sister Out" Collection


Students will use the Legend of the Three Sisters to learn about vegetable planting and harvesting.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required



  • SS2H2a. Students will describe the region in Georgia where the Creek and Cherokee lived and how the people used their local resources.
  • SS2H2b. Students will compare and contrast the Georgia Creek and Cherokee cultures of the past to Georgians today.


  1. Assign 1/3 of the class the role of corn, 1/3 the bean plant, and 1/3 the squash plant. Each planting mound will include 3-4 corn plants, 3-4 bean plants, and 3 squash plants.
    Have students act out the companion planting method this way:

    • Corn plants help bean plants by providing tall stalks for bean vines to climb
    • Beans grow up the corn stalks (making corn stalks stronger against the wind)
    • Beans use their special roots to fix nitrogen in the soil so it can make plants health
    • Squash plants take nitrogen from the soil and grows close to the ground
    • Squash plants spread leaves to shade out weeds
    • Squash plants use prickliness of its stems and leaves to discourage hungry bugs
  2. Keeping same roles, have students act out the modern planting method used commonly by big farms (plants grown separately in rows).
  3. Analyze with students the similarities and differences in Three Sisters agriculture methods (companion plants together in round mounds) and current ways they have seen corn, squash, and beans growing on big farms (plants grown separately in rows).

Grow Companions:

Experiment: Do companion plants grow taller together or separately?