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Aboriginal Youth Identity Series: Health and WellnessElementarySeniors Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness

Lesson 3: A Game of Chance

Teacher Information:

Many years ago, Aboriginal children did not have as much free time to play games as children today do. They had many responsibilities. Boys would be learning how to hunt and trap while girls would be learning how to prepare meet, set up and move tipis, among other chores. They did however, play some games as recreation. Some games were only for boys and men, others for girls and women, and some were for both.

Games were not only fun but also they served a practical purpose as well. Many of the games taught the children to be quick and to have good hand eye coordination. Boys played most of the outdoor activities like running, wrestling, archery, and hoop and stick. Girls would play shinny or dice games. Indoor games such as juggling, cats cradle and others were played by young and old. Many people do not know that Aboriginal People invented the sport of Lacrosse or ice hockey. Today, many Aboriginal games have been modified, as different bands adapted them and certain supplies are no longer readily available.


Students will:

  • Develop appreciation for Siksika (Blackfoot) culture
  • Demonstrate understanding of Siksika (Blackfoot) cultural traditions
  • Create their own Stick Dice Game
  • Participate in a traditional Siksika (Blackfoot) game

Main Lesson:

Students will be playing a game that was popular on the plains. The version they will be playing is the Siksika (Blackfoot) Stick Dice Game so it is important that students have some background knowledge of whom the Siksika (Blackfoot) people were.

You will need to access to the computer lab for this lesson. Arrange for students to work individually or in partners. Searching the Students Zone section of the Edukit, students will discover and record 5 to 10 facts regarding Siksika (Blackfoot) people. They will also need to find two photographs of Siksika (Blackfoot) people. They will arrange all of the information on a one page report and share their findings with the class. Allow time for additional questions regarding Siksika (Blackfoot) culture.

After students have general understanding of Siksika (Blackfoot) culture, introduce the concept of recreation. Did any students find evidence that help to understand what the Siksika (Blackfoot) did as recreational activities? If so, use these as a springboard to talk about the various activities. Explain to students the general principals of the Stick Dice Game.

Stick Dice Game

Distribute four Popsicle sticks to each student so they can each make a set of stick dice to keep. Using the following diagram as an overhead, instruct students to paint one side of their stick any colour. They can then use a black marker to make the black markings on the other side of the sticks. These are known as the stick dice.

How to Play the Game

Divide the class into groups of two or three students each. Each group will have once set of stick dice and twelve plain Popsicle sticks. The plain Popsicle sticks are worth one point each.

Place the twelve sticks in one place and each student will take turns throwing the sticks. Once the sticks are thrown the player that threw the sticks receives one plain Popsicle stick for each point earned. The chart provided with this game will determines how many sticks they will get. Once all the sticks have been taken from the pile, players take the sticks they have earned from other players. The player that receives all twelve sticks wins the game.
Distribute the following Tally Sheet to each student to keep score:

Tally Sheet:


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