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  1. Aztec and Maya Marketplace

    The objects in this box are representative of goods and foods commonly used by peoples of the Americas, specifically Aztec or Maya societies, including pottery, stones, textiles, and plants. Discuss the possible uses for each object, role-play what it would have been like to be a part of an ancient Aztec or Maya marketplace, discover modern equivalents to marketplaces in Chicago and around the world, and create art using techniques of ancient Aztec and Maya artisans. ATTENTION: The feathers in this Experience Box protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and may only be borrowed by educational institutions that are open to the general public and are non-profit (such as public or charter schools), but may not be borrowed by private individuals or institutions without a special permit. If you have any questions about whether you, or your institution, qualify to borrow this box without a permit, please contact us. Learn More
  2. Cereals

    Cereal is more than just breakfast food, it is an important group of grains, including wheat, rye, and oats, from all over the world. The cultivation of these staples has a long and varied history, and its present uses include everything from nourishment to laundry starch to straw hats. Learn More
  3. Jute

    Transport yourself to India, where jute has been cultivated for centuries to produce coarse fabrics and twine. A long process of hydration and peeling is needed to bring the jute from its plant form to a usable material. Learn More
  4. Soybeans

    Pluck a soybean and marvel at its versatility. Aside from its nutritious value, soy can be processed into oils and soaps, as well as stock feed, flour, and cereals. Learn More
  5. Vanilla

    Follow the climbing vanilla vine through its tropical habitat. A member of the orchid family, the bean of the vanilla plant has been used for centuries in Central and South America. Learn More
  6. Vamos a Comer

    Latin American cuisine displays great variability. Different regions within Latin America are known for their distinct styles of cooking and signature dishes, made with local crops and tools both ancient and modern. This Experience Box introduces students to a few of these dishes by exploring the ingredients and tools used to prepare them. Along the way students can: research the history of various foods, including their introduction to new consumers and transport into new markets; interact with the culinary tools to predict their uses; and act out what it would be like to fry a plantain or grind dried chile peppers. Learn More
  7. Corn

    Examine the great versatility and interesting cultural history of corn. A native of Mexico, corn's usefulness goes beyond flour and cornmeal, to paper, mattress stuffing and even explosives. Learn More
  8. Paper

    Ever wonder how a tree like the one in your backyard becomes the paper in your school notebook? Delve into the processing of paper from wood, only one of the materials paper is commonly made from. Learn More
  9. Tea

    Tea


    Tea may grow best in Asian countries, but it is an important cultural element of diets around the world. View the remarkable tea plant up close and discover some of the steps used to process and market it. Learn More
  10. Story of Chocolate

    Dive into the fascinating world of chocolate! Experience the ecological, biological and commercial importance of this treat, with a history dating back to the ancient Maya. Learn More

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