Ask an Elder

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In this activity, learners listen to a story and tell a story of their own as they learn about the importance of elders in Native American cultures. Learners also discover that animals were often the subjects of stories. Native Americans understood the importance of animals to human life, observed them carefully and showed them great respect. Learners will enjoy listening to "How Chipmunk Got His Stripes" by Joseph and James Bruchac and then write and act out their own animal stories featuring a woodland creature. This activity is featured on pp.15-18 of the "One With the Earth: Native Americans and the Natural World" multidisciplinary unit of study for kindergarten through third grade.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • How Chipmunk Got His Stripes by Joseph and James Bruchac (or another Native American animal story)
  • construction paper
  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Literature
  • Nature and Environment
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Native American

    • Acknowledges this group's contributions to STEM
    • Uses inclusive images of people from this group


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis,