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7 Generation Games expands education in Indian Country amid pandemic

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:46 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. – As COVID numbers continue to spike across the state many educators, especially among tribes, have decided to continue with distance learning.

One North Dakota-grown gaming company has enlisted the help of a local educator to create a fun resource for indigenous students and educators during the pandemic.

“My first introduction is bringing it home to my daughter, so my first introductions was as a parent,” said Annette Mennem.

For Mennem, a long-time educator, one of her first interactions with 7 Generation Games was personal.

“I saw the culture and I saw the challenge and I saw the math and as a teacher and as a tribal member I said ‘Ok, they got something here,’” said Mennem.

Mennem now works as a tribal educator and consultant for Turtle Mountain Tribe culture as the company moves forward with its latest project Growing Math.

The project will be an all-in-one resource for distance learning for teachers grades three through eight. It will include lesson plans centered on games based on different tribal cultures from around the country.

“That’s going to help and support teachers in the distance learning right now because they have to manage and plan. If this is one more thing that we can take off their plate, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Juliana Taken Alive, game developer.

With more than 10 games available, CEO and cofounder Mariah Burns Ortiz said the games and program aren’t limited only to Native students.

“Kids from underrepresented communities basically their entire curriculum is about people that don’t look like them and I don’t think there’s anything wrong for other kids to see people that don’t look like them as well,” said Burns Ortiz.

As for Mennem, she said she is looking forward to seeing the results.

“We’re going to help these students get from elementary to middle school from middle to high school and then maybe someday from high school to higher ed so in the end I may see the results in the future,” said Mennem.

Keeping learning fun and relatable, one game at a time.

Taken Alive said that for now the program is looking for pilot schools to test the program throughout the month of January.

You can find the games and connect with the company on its website.

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