Students from Cuba Middle School visited Chaco Culture National Historical Park to experience a part of New Mexico’s history. The University of New Mexico Science Education Partnership team went with the students to lead an activity about New Mexico’s role in the cultivation of foods eaten around the world and the food and nutrition of early Puebloan cultures.
How do scientists know what people in early cultures ate? When we asked students, their immediate response was “Google!” But how did this knowledge get on the Internet? What are the processes involved in scientific discovery?
Scientists gather evidence about the plants cultivated and the foods eaten by early people from a variety of sources. Art historians might contribute by examining the foods depicted in drawings, paintings, and carvings. Historians can help by investigating the foods and seeds mentioned in travel records. Biologists can extract the DNA of currently eaten plants to make hypotheses about where the plants originated.
Although we can find lots of information by using Google, much has yet to be discovered! Does using the scientific method to discover new things sound like fun to you?