History @ Home: Cherokee Games & the Butterbean Game

Adapted from instructions provided by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian 

Designed for Grades K-2

Activity Snapshot: Students will learn about Cherokee sports and games, then learn to play the Cherokee butterbean game. 

Duration: 30 minutes for introduction and tray making. One round of the butterbean game can take 10 to 15 minutes.

Materials needed for the game:

  • A tray for tossing butterbeans (instructions included)
  • Dried butterbeans, colored black on one side with a marker.
  • Corn kernels or other counting objects to keep score
  • Surface or extra trays for corn kernels when keeping score.

Learning Objectives: 

Students will: 

  1. Gain an appreciation for Cherokee culture by learning about Cherokee games, including sports games and the butterbean game.
  2. Understand how one modern day sport is adapted from a traditional Native game, and compare and contrast the two sports as they are played today. 
  3. Practice teamwork by creating basket trays, taking turns playing the butterbean game, and counting corn kernels. 
  4. Exercise their counting skills, appropriate to grade level.
  5. Exercise following directions by learning the rules of the butterbean game.
Download the Entire Activity Here: Cherokee Butterbean History at Home.docx

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