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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Rose Mallow

    Experience the soft splendor of this wild flower, found growing in sizes of up to six feet near streams and swamps of the Midwest. As a member of the valuable mallow family, which also produces cotton, okra, and the base for marshmallows, the Rose Mallow is in danger of extermination because of overzealous picking. Learn More
  6. 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
  7. Spore Bearing Mushrooms 2

    Did you know that mushrooms use spores instead of seeds? In this case we explore the different types of spore locations and dispersal. A number of specimens are shown here including coral, honeycomb, horn of plenty, bear's-head, and the scarlet fairy cup mushrooms. All of which are both edible and unique in their spore developing regions. Learn More
  8. Metate (Grinding Stone)

    The metate is a volcanic flat rock used in Mexico and Central America for grinding corn and other foods products. Students can experience grinning corn into meal. Learn More
  9. 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
  10. 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

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