Navajo Coded Sand Painting: Art Lesson for Kids

Grade Levels
PreK - 8th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
35 pages
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This à la cART lesson introduces students to Navajo sand painting and the secret Navajo radio code developed during World War 2 to transmit secret messages. They will draw and sand paint a Navajo Yei (figure) and write their name using the secret Navajo code.

This lesson includes two copies of the Navajo Code Dictionary:

1. Original version

2. Censored version where the word "Jackass" for donkey has been changed to "Jenny" a female donkey

You will Receive

  • 31-page, non-editable PDF
  • video instructions to share with students
  • a single class (60 minute) duration art project
  • an introduction script to read aloud with questions to engage students
  • step-by-step instructions with pictures
  • graphic dictionary page of the secret Navajo radio code
  • common core art standards
  • extension activities: coloring pages

Total of 35 pages

Art Techniques

  • drawing
  • sand painting
  • Navajo code writing

Materials Needed

I design a la cART lessons to be completed with simple art supplies as it is difficult enough trying to cart materials from one classroom to another. This Navajo Coded Sand Painting project does need something extra: colored sand or regular brown sand.

Approximate Time Needed

The time needed will depend on the age group of students but usually takes approximately 60 minutes for the read-aloud introduction, art lesson and clean up (more for extension activities).

Read Aloud Introduction

You do NOT need any art and / or art history knowledge to teach à la cART lessons – it is all laid out for you. The read-aloud introduction introduces the artist and explains art movement and techniques pertinent to the lesson; with questions guiding student conversation.

Reference Materials

I like using visuals to support my lessons. Due to copyright infringement, the art pieces are not included but I have listed the artist and title of the artwork. You can do a Google image search and then share with the class by projecting on a smartboard or whiteboard.

Common Core Art Standards

(4.VA:Cr2.1.4a) Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches

(6.VA:Re7.2.6a) Analyze ways that visual components and cultural associations suggested by images influence ideas, emotions, and actions.

Perfect for grades TK – 8, homeschooling

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In downloading this item, you agree that you are purchasing a single user license limited to single classroom use only. It does not give you copyright. All teaching materials sold by À la cART Teaching are for personal classroom use only and may not be adapted, re-sold, distributed, or translated into any other language for re-sale. You may not remove the graphic credit in any of my teaching materials.

In order to legally use this resource in more than one classroom or district, you will require a multiple user license.

Total Pages
35 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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