Lesson Plan Navajo Culture and ELA

Navajo Culture and ELA

By Christy Hanson


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.

Dine Government (3.PO3) Executive Branch (3.PO3): I will describe the purpose of at least one subdivision. Legislative Branch (3.PO3): I will describe the Navajo Nation election process. Judicial Branch (3.PO4): I will analyze the purpose of a judicial system.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

⏰ Time

45 minutes

📲 Technology Required

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

📃 Summary

Students learn about Diné (Navajo) culture from multiple perspectives, first through a presentation on Navajo tribal government and its three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) that are modeled after the federal government, as well as its security branch. Also included are four cultural laws governing Navajo leadership. A written assignment exploring roles of effective governance follows as assessment. The lesson concludes with a game, Making Camp Navajo, that discusses Diné traditions in sheep ranching and rug weaving.


Presentation on Diné Governance

Use the slide presentation, Navajo Civics, to introduce students to the history and structure of government on the Navajo Nation.

Download this map of the Navajo Nation to view its five agencies: Chinle, Eastern, Fort Defiance, Northern, and Western.

Class Discussion on Important Issues in Governance

Teachers can use the questions on Slide 26 of the presentation or edit the slides to add their own questions.

Writing Assignment

Students select one or more of the writing prompts and write an essay addressing the prompt. Teachers can use slides 27-31 for the prompts or create their own.

Play a Game

The lesson concludes with the Making Camp Navajo game. Students should play through the introduction and then the activities under the LIFE choices.

Choose Numbers, Life or Random
Choices Screen – click LIFE button
Sheep image, weaving image and girl with sheep
Life Choices – Select and Play each of these


Three types of assessment are included in this lesson. The brainstorming session provides a gauge of the understanding of the class as a whole of the types of issues that can be addressed by government. The writing assignment serves as an individual assessment of student understanding of government. Teacher reports of data collected automatically in Making Camp Navajo document student completion of the activities.

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