Navajo Code Talkers Unit Study

One of my favorite parts of teaching (and homeschooling) is being able to build connections across a variety of subjects.

As we were ending out the school year this year, I decided it was the perfect time a Navajo Code Talkers unit study, since we had finished a number of subjects in preplanned curriculum. My plan for Code Talkers involved a combination of literature, writing (and grammar), history, and technology.

Code Talkers Unit Study Steps: 

1. Read Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac.

We broke this into about 4 days of reading, since we set aside a certain amount of time dedicated to reading each day. With 29 chapters, it would depend on the reading levels of the students involved.  It's also possible to read over a couple weeks while working on the following assignment

2. Using the novel as a starting point, begin to research the actual Code Talkers, then create a Powerpoint to share this information.

You might want to share a little about the Navajo Nation and history, how the Code Talking program came to be, examples of the code and how the Code Talkers made it work, etc.

You will need a cover slide and a final slide.  In between, use 4-5 slides to explain what you have learned.  You are welcome to use photos if you would like.

3. After completing the Powerpoint and reading the novel, write a short book review on the novel.  Include your thoughts on how well the author told the story based on what you have learned about the real Code Talkers.

Did he accurately represent what happened for the young Navajo Marines?  Could this novel basically be a true story?

Did he leave out anything you think might be important?  What else would you add, if so?

Did You Know?

Navajo is one of the most widely spoken Native languages in the United States. It consists of 33 consonants, 12 vowel sounds, and is written using accents to emphasize particular sounds.  Few people outside the Navajo tribe were able to speak or understand it; it was not an easy second language to learn.

Code Talkers Unit Study Websites to Use:

Navajo Code Talkers Fact Sheet - from US Naval History & Heritage
Navajo Code Talkers - Photos

Follow Up:

My son presented his finished product to his dad and sister.  We are also holding onto it as an option for potential Boy Scout badges (Public Speaking, Communications, or Signs, Signals, & Codes).

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