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The Navajo-Churro: America’s First Domestic Sheep

📖STANDARD

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

7th-8th Diné History Standards – I will understand historical/factual events, people and symbols that influence my family. Concept 1.PO2.  I will identify an event relating to important people in Diné history.

LESSON TIME

90 minutes including time for research

📃SUMMARY

Vocabulary and historical events key to Navajo sheep farming are provided in a slide presentation. Students learn more about Navajo agriculture and history through a video, their own research, and a game combining math and history. Academic vocabulary is at the 7th grade level.

📚Lesson

Navajo-Churros: America’s First Domestic Sheep

Introduce sheep farming in Navajo and southwest history with this presentation, for an editable Google slides version, go here. The same presentation as a PowerPoint is found here. Students will learn vocabulary words related to general livestock farming and specifically to sheep.

VIDEO: Irene’s Churro Lambs

YouTube video: Irene’s Churro Lambs

Research and Writing Assignments

This assignment has two parts. In the first part, students research one of these events in history to learn more about it. They locate a primary source and a secondary source with citations, and then write an objective summary. In Part B, students select two research questions of interest, from a list provided, and conduct research to find the answers. A Google doc of the assignment can be found here.

Accommodations for learners with special needs

For the assignment above, for learners with special needs, you may wish to assign only one of the two parts. Generally, we would assign Part B, finding the answers to research questions. This is also a modification for students who are English language learners.

GAME: Making Camp Navajo LIFE Module 

Students can play the three Making Camp Navajo modules for 20 minutes. The following instructions can be copied into Google classroom, pasted into a Zoom chat or given in class.

Go to Making Camp Navajo https://7generationgames.com/making_camp_navajo/

Play through until you reach the LIFE tab and play all of the activities you find there.

These are the three activities you will play

  • LOL: Lots on Lambs
  • The Many Uses of Sheep
  • Rug Design 

ASSESSMENT

This lesson includes three forms of assessment

  1. Objective Summary of Research (written assignment)
  2. Research to answer questions on an event with primary/secondary sources
  3. Making Camp Navajo Gameplay

Making Camp Navajo – Student Activities completed can be seen in the Making Camp Navajo teacher reports

  1. Assessment in lamb care/lambing season. (True or False)
  2. Assessment in the Many Uses of Sheep for Navajo history. (Matching game)
  3. Students can screenshot a picture of their rug design, like below. 

Raising Sheep and Rational Numbers

📖 Standards

Dine’ Culture Standards (3.PO2) I will develop an understanding of Dine’ way of life through Iina’. I will implement and recognize the Dine’ lifestyle. I will present the stories related to Land and Water Beings.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.EE.B.3 Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals)

⏰ Time

45 minutes

📲 Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet

📃 Summary

Why would a Navajo sheep farmer need rational numbers? Our sheep farmer wants to build a new sheep corral. He would need to know positive and negative numbers, fractions, and decimals. This middle school lesson on rational numbers is integrated with some Navajo sheep history and is for grades 7 to 8. The examples are detailed and include word problems of rational numbers as applied to finding sheep farming profits. Operation rules are covered along with application of ratio and perimeter skills.

📚 Lesson

1. Bell ringer: Navajo Sheepherding Life

Have students watch this short spotlight video of Navajo sheepherding life in Arizona.

2. Write answers to prompts

Write a short response to it to keep in their notes for discussion during the history parts of the lesson.

  • What do you notice about the northern Arizona terrain?
  • What do traditional Navajos think of land ownership?
  • How does the grandmother, Helen, care for her animals?

3. Math Lesson on Rational Numbers

This presentation, Raising sheep and rational numbers, introduces the concept of rational numbers as anything that can be explained as a ratio. Negative numbers are illustrated both as loans a sheep farmer would take out and depth of holes in the ground that the farmer needs to consider in selecting the size of posts. Students are given rules of integer addition and subtraction to use as an aid in solving problems.

4. Play Game

Play Making Camp Navajo – Sheep Herding and Rational numbers.

Select the game with this icon

Differentiated Instruction

For students who may need a review of the basics, this video on What are Rational provides a good and entertaining refresher.

Related Lessons

Adding and subtracting decimals — Students watch two videos explaining decimal and fraction equivalence. They are then presented with a brief reminder of natural, integer and rational numbers. A slide presentation discusses adding and subtracting decimals. The lesson ends with teacher and student-generated practice problems.

Assessment

There are five problems within the presentation to be worked as a class. Teachers can present the question and have students write the answers and then present the answers. Alternatively, for students working at home, each slide with questions is followed by worked answers.

Teachers can also see which standards students have attempted and how many problems they have answered correctly in the Making Camp teacher reports.