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Native American Legends - Lesson Plans and Free Math Game

Native American legends are one of my very favorite things to expose my kids to. It's a genre of literature they don't usually gravitate to naturally, so it's like I'm opening up a whole new area of reading to them. I love teaching them that a legend tells how something in nature has evolved to be what it is today. One of my very favorite legends of all is The Rainbow Crow. If you're not familiar with the story, it tells how the crow was once a beautiful, colorful songbird who sacrificed its voice and appearance to save all the animals of the world. We also learn how the sacrifice turns into a gift. It's really a touching tale with so many teachable moments!

I searched and searched for some ready to use resources for this great book, but didn't really find any that fit my needs. So, I stopped searching and started creating. This is a bit different from my usual stuff, but my entire team has been using this as our whole group reading plan and it's been working really well! I included a 5 day lesson plan breakdown and a printable for each lesson. I also noted Common Core Standards for grades 2, 3, and 4. I'm working on the same type of format for the other legends we're working on. {Links at the end, as always}

Another favorite of mine is the Native American stick game called Pugasaing. I really have no idea where I first saw this, I just have my sample game stowed away with the early versions of this unit. It's great math practice and the kids really dig it. First, I introduce some tribal patterns I found online and let the kids have at some jumbo popsicle sticks with red and black markers. They need 3 sticks altogether each with one black and one red side. We talked a lot about how Native American children would make the game with tree bark and carvings instead of popsicle sticks and sharpies. When I gave them a pipe cleaner to hold them together, they told me that the kids would probably use a long piece of grass. They got it! Huzzah! 
I'm working on the plans and products for this unit as I'm teaching it, kind of like learning how to fix planes in the air, but isn't that how teaching is most of the time?

Great Resources I'm also Loving!


  1. I clicked on the link above, Free Pugasaing Directions and How to Play Poster, and nothing shows up. It is a blank page. Did I do something wrong?

    1. HI Susan, It should take you to Google Drive to download. I just checked and it's working for me. If you can't get it to come up, email me at and I'll send it to you :)

  2. It does not really explain how to play just the point value and the students need to get to 25 points. What exactly do they do with the popsicle sticks. I would love to incorporate the game into my pilgrim unit.

    1. Hi there,
      The kids hold up their three sticks a few inches off the table or floor and let them drop. Then they count their points according to the chart. They each take turns doing so until the first person reaches 25. Hope that clears it up! :)

  3. Your kids look like they are having a lot of fun! Thank you for the shout out! :)

  4. Thanks so much for the "Shout out" Denise. I love reading about all the wonderful activities you do with your kids.
    LMN Tree


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