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Native Americans Lesson Plan: Ball and Triangle Game



  • Math
  • Physical Education
  • Social Studies


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Students create a modern-day version of a game that was popular among some Native American children.


Students will

  • create a toy that was commonly used by the Penobscot Indian children of New England.


Native American, American Indian, game, toy

Materials Needed


  • picture of ball and triangle toy from the library or the Web site mentioned in the lesson plan, cardboard, scissors, thread or string, modeling clay or a similar medium

Lesson Plan

  • Show students a picture of the Ball and Triangle Game the Penobscot Indian children in New England often played. Children fashioned the toy from a triangle-shaped piece of bark from a birch tree.
  • Students can use cardboard in place of birch bark. Cut the cardboard into triangle shapes approximately 8 inches long on each side. Cut a hole in the center of the cardboard; the hole should be about the size of a silver dollar. Poke a small hole in one corner of the triangle and tie an 18-inch-long piece of string through the hole.
  • Fashion from a piece of modeling clay a small ball about the size of a medium-size gumball. Wrap the other end of the string around the ball -- tightly, but not too tightly -- and knot. Let the clay ball harden. (Note: For young students, you may want to provide small rubber balls, Silly Putty, or other soft balls.)
  • Children hold the triangle and try to swing the ball upward so that it drops through the hole in the triangle.
  • Keep score by passing a bean to students each time the ball drops through the hole. The students with the most beans at the end of the game are the winners.


Evaluate students on their ability to follow directions and on their eye-hand coordination.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards


Physical Education:

Social Sciences:

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