Lummi Sticks



EARL Connections:

Art:   The student makes connections within and across The Arts, to other disciplines, life, cultures, and work.

Communication:   The student uses communication strategies and skills to work effectively with others.


1. Students will create a rhythmic pattern with sticks.

2. Students will create a chant representing the sounds of nature.

  Materials:        Sticks – we used sticks that had been cleared form camp trails by rhythm sticks can also be used.



Note:  Many upper elementary and middle school students attend a week of outdoor school.  This idea came from the naturalist at outdoor school, Camp Waskowitz, and is an activity based on a game played by the New Zealand Maori.  There is strong connection to the kinesthetic arts in this lesson.



Before introducing this game, ask students to listen to the sounds of the forest, the river, and the animals we were learning about at outdoor school.

Have students find sticks of similar size and length on their own, or use rhythm sticks.  We found our sticks from a pile of detritus left by a recent logging of the site.  If time allows, students can decorate them.

Place students in a circle or two lines facing each other.  They will need a hard surface such as a table, the floor, or (in our case) a log that is used for seating.  Have one student begin by beating a slow rhythm which their partner (the one sitting in front of next to the student) will repeat. 

Have the rhythm continue around the circle of down the line. While maintaining the rhythm, click the two sticks together every few beats.  Keep the pattern simple at the beginning.  Try clicking the sticks against your partner’s or neighbor’s between ground beats. 

Students can vary the rhythm by speeding it up or slowing it down, adding variations as they are able and willing, but always following the lead of the first person.  If more challenge is needed, have a second person contribute a pattern to the first one.

Once students are comfortable with maintaining a rhythm, add the chant.  This is where the nature sounds come in.  At the beginning maybe only one or two sounds can be added, from a volunteer.  Soon you have a chant along with the rhythmic beating and clicking.


Note:  Doing this at outdoor school was ideal.  Students felt more comfortable in taking a risk than they would otherwise in the regular classroom setting.


















































Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  music will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.