Native American games played a big role in education. Games were helping students to develop the skills they needed to become successful adults.
Indigenous students learned while playing. The better their working memory is, the better they are at following complex directions, solving math problems in their head, etc. The great thing about working memory is that it is not something fixed as you can improve it in multiple ways.
The classroom games on this blog are specially designed to help students improve their working memory. If you believe that your students can benefit from a working memory booster, then you will find the following lines quite helpful.
4 Native American Games to Play In Classrooms
Spot the Difference
Find two pictures that seem identical, but there are small differences. You can find such pictures at NEOK12. Have the images placed on a screen or a board, whatever is available. Then tell the students to find as many differences as possible for a limited amount of time.
You can even show YouTube clips like the one below or create your own Powerpoint slides:
Recall the Card
For this exercise, you will need to split the students into pairs. Plus, each pair will need to have a deck of cards. To begin, one of the partners needs to flip five cards with their faces up. The other partner will have a few seconds to memorize the five cards before closing their eyes.
Then the partner that deals will remove one of the five cards and tell the partner to open his/her eyes. Then the other partner needs to figure out which card is missing. After a while, partners can switch places, and the one that dealt the cards can be the one that recalls which card is missing.
The game starts with one student saying a one-digit number. Another player then adds another one-digit number. Then a third person needs to say out loud the first two digits and add another one-digit number to the string. Then the next student says the number of the string and adds another one. The game goes on until someone forgets a number or says the numbers in the wrong order.
The student that first makes one such mistake is out of the game. The game doesn’t stop until there is only one student left. The student that can successfully guess the longest string is the one that wins the game. This game is best suited for older kids.
I Went Shopping for…
If the above classroom game is better suited for older kids, then this one is perfectly suitable for students of all ages. Plus, in a sense, this game is very similar to game strings.
The goal of this game is to remember as many of the bought items as possible.
So, the first player says, “I went shopping for and purchased a____.” He or she names one item. Then the next student repeats the same sentence and adds another thing to the list. Every player gets to repeat the sentence and all the purchased items mentioned by the previous players. If someone misses an item is out of the game. The game continues until there is only one player left.
There are a lot more similar classroom games that can improve kids’ working memory. A simple online search can reveal many more games that are equally fun. The benefits of these games are more than obvious. The biggest challenge is to encourage teachers and educators to include these activities in their ongoing curriculum.