Sample Elementary Course

Choosing Your Path

Grade Level: 3rd Grade

                        Week/Lesson Six


Lesson Objective

The student will
  • learn how wisdom plays a part in making good decisions
  • learn to identify risky behaviors

LCH Goals

Goal 4: Students will learn about the various risk behaviors (for example: substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors) and their long-term physical and emotional consequences.

Goal 5: Students will apply the Lakota value of woksape (wisdom) by making good decisions, problem solving, and setting personal goals.

Goal 7: Students will develop an awareness of internal (stress, depression) and external (other people, circumstances) threats to their personal safety and health.

Goal 8: Students will develop an understanding of the importance of Wowicake (integrity) and Wayuonihan (honor) as Lakota values that contribute to an individual’s identity, reputation, and self-reliance.

Lakota Virtues

Bravery - Woohitika

Wisdom - Woksape

Truth/Integrity - Wowicake

Honor - Wayuonihan

Perseverance - Wowacintanka

OSEU Connectors 


OSEU 7 - Way of Life & Development


OSEU 2 - Identity & Resiliency

OSEU 3 - Culture & Language

OSEU 4 - Kinship & Harmony

OSEU stands for Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards. More information can be found here.



Materials Needed

Things to Review


  • Sungmanitu - Wolf
  • Woksape - The knowledge and wisdom of old people is very important for the well-being of the Lakota people. This is understood to be something sought and gained over the course of one's entire life, but not just by adding years to one's life.
  • Family - any group living together as if they were related by blood.
  • Perfect - free from mistakes or faults.
  • Risky behavior - acting in a dangerous, unsafe, or hazardous way.
  • Huffing - the act of inhaling substances (often common household products, such as glue, spray paint, gasoline, etc.) in order to achieve a high.
  • Addiction - Being addicted to something means you have a strong craving (you want it all of the time) and you have very little control over it. Addiction takes away your freedom to do what is right or good for you and your family. Addiction is a lifelong disease but some people do achieve sobriety (living a drug- and alcohol free life.)


Learning Activities


Briefly review the important points of last week's lesson, "My Star Quilt of Friendship." There is no such thing as a perfect family. All families have problems and stress. In this lesson, we will be able to identify risky behaviors and how we can use the Lakota value of wisdom in order to make good decisions for ourselves. Discuss with students some characteristics of your own family and how no family is perfect, but that does not mean they are not good families. Explain that sometimes families have problems but there are places that they can get help, for example in counseling, traditional healing, AA, and various other places. Many Lakota people have chosen the 'Red Road' way of life, which includes living a drug and alcohol-free life.



Have the students form a talking circle and review the talking circle rules. Azilya (smudge) if school allows, and read The Story of Two Wolves.

  1. What do you think of the story?
  2. What do you think is risky behavior? (Behaviors that are not good for you, or behaviors that may hurt you.)
  3. Write examples on chalkboard: Drinking, huffing, etc.

Process with students:

  1. What do you think happens if you keep drinking, huffing, taking drugs, etc?
  2. Which wolf are you feeding when you do these things?
  3. What are some ways you can see the bad wolf harming the person themselves, their friends, and their families?
    1. Bad health
    2. No job or quitting school
    3. Constant problems with family and friends
    4. Problems with police
    5. Money problems
    6. Other Problems
    7. What are things you can get addicted to?
    8. Alcohol
    9. Tobacco
    10. Vaping
    11. Huffing
    12. Marijuana
    13. Pills
    14. Gambling
  4. How do people act when they drink? (Angry, out of control, dangerous, reckless, etc.)
  5. Does a person have control over their life when they are addicted?
  6. Have students take turns reading the Most Don't Use document. Tell students even if they know a lot of people who do these things, most people in the country DO NOT. It is not the norm.
  7. How can you use wisdom to make good decisions?
  8. How do you feed the good wolf?
  9. What kind of things can you do to feed the good wolf?
    1. Lead by example
    2. Stay in school
    3. Participate in traditional or other spiritual ceremonies
    4. Play sports with good health
    5. Attend or dance at Wacipi
    6. Play in a band
    7. Respect your elders
    8. Be honest
    9. Be positive

Distribute copies of the Two Wolves handout. Ask students to write or draw examples of how they feed the good wolf in themselves. (sports, volunteering, respecting people, etc.)



OPTIONAL: For this curriculum, we invite you to have students reflect in their reflection journal / workbook. This can be done in a digital file shared with the educator (Google Docs, Word Online) or in a paper journal. This reflection includes:

LCH has no specific graded assessments. However, you may wish to use the activities and your observations to inform future lessons. If your context requires grading the material, consider scoring their performance against the outcomes.