Annie and the Old One: Navajo Geometry 

Objectives
    Students will be able to identify and label geometric shapes using are
of Native Americans, specifically the navajo tribe.

Materials
pictures of
Navajo blankets (one per table)
overhead projector and transparency w/ picture of blanket on it
story of
origins of weaving
transparency w/ grid lines for concluding activity
graph paper

Introduction (5 min)

Read the history of Navajo blanket-weaving. Emphasize the fact that
weaving a is a learned skill that is passed down from older relatives, like
in Annie and the Old One.

Review geometric shapes and their properties.

Modeling (5 min)

Using a picture of a Navajo blanket copied on to a transparency, point
out some of the shapes in the pattern.

Outline a couple of the shapes in the blanket to make them more
visible.

Pick out others with the students' help.

Make sure they know what they're looking for.

Practice (10 min)

Pass out different pictures of Navajo blankets to the student.

Give them time to find the shapes in the their blankets.

Wander between desks to make sure each child understands what hey
are supposed to be doing.

Application/Conclusion (10 min)

When students have finished, ask them to count their shapes.

        How many total?             How many circles?
        How many triangles?      How many rectangles?
        How many squares?       What shapes have we missed?

Write each type of shape on the board including a grand total category.

Note the number of each shape under each one.

Challenge the student to add the columns on their own.

When all have finished, total each column as a class.

        Which shapes do we have the most of? The least of?
        What does that mean?
        Some shapes easier than others to design?
        Cultural meaning of shapes?

As a class think of other places during the day where we see shapes.
(List on board.)
        - fabric      - posters      - carpet      - playground equipment

Extension:

    Take students on a walk through the hallways and the outside to find
geometric shapes in their environment. Discuss findings as a class. Do
shapes have meaning in our life? What shapes are most common? If we
were to weave a blanket representing our lives, what shapes would we
use and why? Have students design a blanket using art supplies that
represents their lives.

Activity (30 min)

1. Like the Navajo create designs that are meaningful to their lives, the
students are going to make a design using geometric shapes that reflects
their lives. An example is the
Tree of Life blanket pattern.

2. Using an overhead transparency with grid lines, create a design using
shapes that have meaning to your life.

3. Brainstorm some ideas the students can do for their own pattern.

4. Pass out sheets of graph paper-- one per student.

5. Make sure that they orient their papers vertically to mimic a blanket.