My students learned how to play two different Aboriginal math games (more can be found here). They had fun playing Throw Sticks and Stick Dice, games originating with the Apaches in the Southwest United States and the Pomo Indians of California, respectively. During large celebrations that would last about four days, nations would get together and would feast, dance and play games. Many of these games involved gambling and setting large wagers against neighbouring tribes. The kids didn’t want to stop playing the game, which is interesting, because all the materials you need to play this game can be found in nature, and not on an iPad!
For Throw Sticks, you need: 40 rocks, arranged in 4 groups of 10 in a circle, 2 feathers for place markers, and 3 sticks (we used popsicle sticks) that must be decorated using the same patterns and colours on each.
For Stick Dice, you need: 6 (popsicle) sticks, all decorated the same on one side only.
Obviously there weren’t any Mr. Sketch markers back when this game originated, but I imagine that they would have burned etchings into the sticks to create patterns, and/or used things like berries for dyes. The students were then taught how to use Google Slides. They especially loved the transitions effects and how you can “drag and drop” pictures using Google Chrome, as opposed to Internet Explorer where you have to save your image and then upload it. As part of our procedural writing unit, their task was to create a presentation all about how to play the game of their choice. When these are complete, they will be teaching another class how to play their games by showing their presentations on iPads. And because you should end your procedural text on a positive note, I’ll apply that here: Amazing work, Grade 4/5’s!