The Triumphs of Stickball within the Native American Choctaw Nation

Teaching Strategies

These activities could be  adapted and designed to include a sport which is native to the particular region or Native American culture in which the teacher lives.

1. A video clip of a Native American Choctaw stickball game will be viewed on the smart board in order to introduce the lesson. (See the embedded clip on the Background Information section of this learning center.) Engage in a discussion of: rules of the game; team members and composition; team positions; length of game; playing field; scoring, etc. could expand from the viewing.

 

2. Those students living in Choctaw country will see stickball game equipment. A student volunteer stickball player will be asked to explain the following:

  • Wood that is used to make the stickball sticks or kaboccas.
  • Procedure used to make the sticks in which the wood is bent to form the kabocca or stickball stick.
  • Steps used to secure the leather in the  cup of the stick.
  • A description of the process used to make the  towa or leather playing ball will be given.
  • The steps used to serve the ball to the opposing team will be discussed.

3. Students who do not live in Choctaw territory will research the game on the Internet (see Resources page of this learning center) and download photographs or drawings of the equipment. Students will research, read, and discuss the history of the game of stickball from the past to the present.

4. Use a map of the state of Mississippi for students to:

  • locate and plot the seven communities of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Tucker, Pearl River, Conehatta, Red Water, Standing Pine, Bogue Chitto, Bogue Homa)
  • chart the various colors that represent the individual communities
  • identify the names of the stickball teams that represent each community in the annual stickball tournament. Go to the following web site for information on this topic: http://www.choctaw.org/Government/Tribal%20Lands/Tribal%20Lands.html 

5. Various stories about the game of stickball will be read and discussed within the class. (This can be teacher’s choice, using resources listed on the Resources section of this learning center.)

6. Create an original narrative experience about playing in a stickball game, attending a stickball tournament, or the most memorable story experience that has shared about playing stickball. (Fictional or personal)  (This activity could be adapted to any sporting event that is indigenous to a particular culture or region.)

  • The stages of the writing process will be utilized to create this original genre.
  •  A rubric will be used to critique the original composition.

7. If possible, students will go to the football field for a stickball demonstration by a volunteer player.

  •        Correct way to hold the sticks
  •        Rules of the game will be reviewed
  •        Serving of the ball
  •        (This activity could be adapted to any sporting game indigenous to a particular region - baseball,  football, soccer, throwing of rabbit sticks, blowing dart from a blowgun, etc.)

8. Each student will be given the opportunity to serve the ball from the goal line of the football field. (Any playing field or open area could be utilized.)

 

Extensions:

9. Have students measure, calculate, and record the distance the ball travels using various instruments of measurement. Draw a chart to be used in the classroom for a math extension.

 

10. Undertake a scientific discussion of motion, force, and transfer of energy applied to the stickball or towa.

 

11. Research the evolution of stickball into lacrosse.  

12. Have students incorporate the use of musical drums and chants during the stickball game.