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New app can teach math to children in the Lakota language

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A new app is helping American Indian youth learn math that can be taught in their native Lakota language.

The bilingual English and Lakota math video game was created by the Thunder Valley Community Development Corp., a South Dakota nonprofit that promotes Native American issues.

The “Making Camp: Lakota” app is free and can be downloaded on mobile devices and computer desktops, KOTA-TV reported. It is meant mainly to help fourth- and fifth-grade students.

A historical video introduces each section of the game explaining cultural symbols like eagle feathers, buffalo and horses.

Mary Bowman, an Oceti Sakhalin teacher with the Rapid City Area School District, said it’s a key part of the curriculum. Culturally responsive teaching increases children’s achievement levels because the children are more engaged and learn more, she said.

“It’s so important because, you know, Lakota people have lived here for centuries. And the influence that the culture has is here and great. It’s good not just for Native students to learn but all kids to learn,” Bowman said.

Lakota is part of the Dakota language group and is one of the most commonly spoken Native American dialects in the country. Most of its speakers live in the Dakotas.

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