The southern miss medicine wheel garden prior to hurricane katrina
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The SOUTHERN MISS MEDICINE WHEEL GARDEN prior to Hurricane Katrina What is a Medicine Wheel?

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What is a medicine wheel l.jpg
What is a Medicine Wheel? Katrina

  • The term "medicine wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel which is located on a ridge of Medicine Mountain in northern Wyoming's Big Horn Range. It is a circular arrangement of stones measuring 80 feet across with 28 rows of stones that radiate from a central cairn to an encircling stone rim. Placed around the outside edge of the wheel are five smaller, stone circles. There is general agreement that it was built approximately 200 years ago by local Native Americans, and that its 28 "spokes" may symbolize the days in a lunar month. To Native Americans, this remains a sacred, ceremonial site.



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The Southern Miss Medicine Wheel Garden is divided into four quadrants.

  • Each quadrant represents one of four colors and is separated into five sections. These sections can be adopted by people or groups of people who will arrange plants and various other objects within their adopted sections in a way that is meaningful to them.


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Cardinal Points quadrants.

  • North – White is the symbol for Earth, wisdom, and healing. The season is winter.

  • South – Black/Purple/Blue is the symbol for water and emotions. Season is fall.

  • East – Yellow is the symbol for air, flight, and new beginnings. Season is spring.

  • West – Red is the symbol for fire, passion, and fertility. Season is summer.


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GOLDEN EAGLES INTERTRIBAL SOCIETY quadrants.Medicine Wheel Organic Garden

  • Plot # Direction Name of Plants Color

  • 1 East Shiny Coneflower (Rudbeckia nititda) Yellow

  • 2 East Yellow Purslane (Portulaca oleracea Yellow

  • 3 East Moonbeam Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticiallata Yellow

  • 4 East Shiny Coneflower (Rudbeckia nititda) Yellow

  • 5 East Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta Yellow

  • 6 South Coleus Black/Purple/Blue

  • 7 South Purple Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas Black/Purple/Blue

  • 8 South Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Black/Purple/Blue

  • 9 South Purple Heart (Tradescntia pallida)BlackPurpleBlue

  • 10 South Coleus Black/Purple/Blue

  • 11 West Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Red

  • 12 West Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) Red

  • 13 West Red Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) Red

    Bat-face Flower (Cuphea llavea) Red

  • 14 West Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Red

  • 15 West Navajo Sage, Red Pepper, Barberry, Clematis Red

  • 16 North White Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) White

  • 17 North White Sage, Verbena, Peppermint White

  • 18 North White Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) White

    Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus)White

  • 19 North Aztec grass (Ophiopogon jaburan)White

  • 20 North Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘David’) White


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Laurel High School quadrants.


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Laurel High School quadrants.


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The Medicine Wheel quadrants.


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Compass Directions quadrants.

The wheel garden is divided into 4 sections:

white – north

red – west

purple – south

yellow – east

Each one of these sections is divided into 5 equal parts. Plants are planted in each part according to their color.


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Problem 1 quadrants.


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Problem 2 quadrants.

Brandi’s group is running out of time, she only has time to plant ¼ of the yellow section that she is responsible for. Nina’s group will plant the rest of Brandi’s yellow section as well as her part of the yellow section. How much is each group now responsible for the yellow section?


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Problem 3 quadrants.

Carla made a mistake and she forgot to assign a section of the medicine wheel. Since it was her mistake, she will be responsible for anything not assigned. If the total area of the medicine wheel is 320 ft2 and the inside circle and walk-ways take up 120 ft2. How much area in ft2 is Carla responsible for?


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  • West – Red quadrants.

  • Symbol for fire, passion, and fertility. The time of summer.

  • Question: Observe the plants found within this section and try to locate insects found around the different flowers. How can these insects be beneficial to the plants?

  • How can these insects be harmful to the plants?

  • Answer: Insects can be beneficial to plants by pollinating them or the insects can eat other insects that eat the plants. Insects can be harmful by eating the plants, laying eggs on the plants, stinging the plants, etc.


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  • South – Black/Purple/Blue quadrants.

  • Symbol for water and emotions. The time of fall.

  • Question: Examine the plants within this section. Trace the flow of water from the ground to the leaves of the plants. Name the parts that transport the water.

  • Answer: Depending on the level of the student, answer can range: roots, stems, leaves, veins; vascular tissue; xylem, phloem.


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  • East – Yellow quadrants.

  • Symbol for air, flight, and new beginnings. The time of spring.

  • Question: Take a deep breath in. What atmospheric gas are you breathing in so you can live? Oxygen Release your breath. What atmospheric gas are you breathing out? Carbon dioxide Plants can also breathe atmospheric gasses in and out through tiny openings on the underside of the leaves. Examine both sides of a leaf using a hand magnifier. How does the underside differ from the top side? The top side is smooth and the bottom side is bumpy. Answers will vary. Tiny openings called stoma on the underside of the leaf are where plants exchange gases. What gas do plants take in to participate in photosynthesis? Oxygen What gas is released as a result of photosynthesis? Carbon dioxide

  • Extension: Make a cast of the underside of a leaf using clear fingernail polish and packaging tape. Take the cast back to the lab and examine the shape of the stoma using the microscope.


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  • North – White quadrants.

  • Symbol for Earth, wisdom, and healing. The time of winter.

  • Question: Locate the northern stone. This totem is for north winds and winter. The animal totems are the white buffalo, polar bear, and snowy owl. Explain why these animals need to be white. What other adaptations do they need to survive in the winter?

  • Answer: The animals need a white coat in order to blend in with their surroundings. It is a means of defense against prey. They also need a thick furry or feathery covering to protect them from the cold and also a thick layer of fat.


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  • Use fraction circles to help you answer the following questions.

  • Sue has adopted 3 sections of the white quadrant and 3 sections of the purple quadrant. She has decided that this is too much for her to take care of and wants to give back 2 white sections and 1 purple section.

    • What fraction of the medicine wheel does Sue start with?

    • What fraction of the medicine wheel does Sue want to give back?

    • What fraction of the medicine wheel does Sue still have?

  • Ted has already adopted the whole red quadrant but wants to adopt 2 yellow sections.

  • a) What fraction of the whole medicine wheel does Ted have before adopting the 2 yellow sections?

  • b) What fraction of the yellow quadrant will Ted have?

  • c) What fraction of the whole medicine wheel will Ted have?

  • Joe may want to adopt part of the medicine wheel but he needs to know what sections are available for adoption. Refer to problem 1 and 2.

    • What portion of the medicine wheel has already been adopted?

    • What portion of the medicine wheel has not yet been adopted?


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THE HONEYBEE questions.

Apis mellifera


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The Honeybee Voyage questions.

  • Honeybees were first imported to the colonies in 1622 to pollinate the crops brought over from Europe. The Indians referred to them as “the white man’s flies”.


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The bee wings beat over 11,000 cycles per minute. questions.

The average speed of a bee is 15 mph.

The wings of a foraging honeybee wears out after about 500 miles.


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Busy Bee questions.

  • The average bee flies at a speed of about 15 mph with their wings beating at about 11,000 cycles per minute. However, Busy Bee and Speedy Bee are not average bees. Busy Bee flies at a rate of about 13.5 mph and Speedy Bee beats her wings at a rate of 11,520 cycles per minute. Use the given information to complete the following chart.

  • Cycles per minuteCycles per secondMiles per hourYards per minuteFeet per secondBusy Bee13.5Speedy Bee11,520


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  • Honey questions.

  • To make 1 pound of honey, worker bees in a hive fly 55, 000 miles and tap 2 million flowers. In the University of Southern Mississippi’s Medicine Wheel Garden, there are 20 plants per section in the purple quadrant, 17 plants per section in the red quadrant, 23 plants in two of the sections in the yellow quadrant and 21 plants in the other three yellow sections, and there are 11 plants in each section of the white quadrant. On average there are 15 flowers per purple plant, 7 flowers per red plant, 4 flowers per yellow plant, and 11 flowers per white plant.

  • How many flowers will it take to make 10 ounces of honey?

  • If it takes each bee 47 seconds to pollinate each flower, how long (in seconds, minutes, and hours) will it take 157 bees to make 5 ounces of honey?

  • If 100 bees pollinated the red and yellow quadrants of the medicine wheel garden, how many ounces of honey would they produce?

  • How many ounces of honey can be made from the entire medicine wheel garden? How many pounds?

  • As Sherry finished her 12 oz. jar of honey, she thought about all the work that bees must have put into filling her jar. How many of Southern Miss’s medicine wheel gardens would it take to fill her jar?


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To make one pound of honey, workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers.

In a single collecting trip a worker will visit between 50 and 100 flowers.


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Bees have five eyes which enables them to perceive movements that are separated by 1/300th of a second.


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Compound Eyes that are separated by 1/300

  • Arthropod eyes are called compound eyes because they are made up of repeating units the ommatidia, each of which functions as a separate visual receptor.

  • Each ommatidium consists of

    • a lens (the front surface of which makes up a single facet)

    • a transparent crystalline cone

    • light-sensitive visual cells arranged in a radial pattern like the sections of an orange

    • pigment cells which separate the ommatidium from its neighbors.

  • The pigment cells ensure that only light entering the ommatidium parallel (or almost so) to its long axis reaches the visual cells and triggers nerve impulses. Thus, each ommatidium is pointed at just a single area in space and contributes information about only one small area in the field of view.


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Mosaic images that are separated by 1/300

  • The composite of all their responses is a mosaic image — a pattern of light and dark dots rather like the halftone illustrations in a newspaper or magazine. And just as in those media, the finer the pattern of dots, the better the quality of the image.

  • Grasshopper eyes, with relatively few ommatidia must produce a coarse, grainy image. The honeybee and dragonfly have many more ommatidia and a corresponding improvement in their ability to discriminate ("resolve") detail. The resolving ability of the honeybee eye is poor in comparison with that of most vertebrate eyes and only 1/60 as good as that of the human eye; that is, two objects that we could distinguish between at 60 feet could only be discriminated by the bee at a distance of one foot.


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