Navajo Weaving Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

If you are discussing Navajo Indians, this lesson plan explores their contribution to weaving. Students will read two text lessons and engage in discussion questions. They will then apply the concepts they just learned in a hands-on activity to create their own Navajo weaving.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • discuss the impact Navajo Indians made on artistic culture around the world.
  • explain the materials and techniques used in weaving.
  • describe the characteristics of Navajo woven coverings.


60 minutes plus more for the Activity

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.


Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.



Navajo Weaving: History & Patterns

  • Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about the Navajo Indians.
  • Now tell students they will explore their art of weaving in this lesson.
  • Distribute a copy of the Navajo Weaving: History & Patterns text lesson, select a student to read the 'Navajo Weaving' section out loud, then start the following discussion:
    • What is another name for Navajo?
    • The author mentions that Navajo weaving is more than art. Explain.
  • Next choose another student to read the 'History' section, then pose the following:
    • Discuss how the Navajo origin of society, balance, harmony and prosperity began.
    • Quickly use smart technology to define progenitor and explain how it relates to the Navajo culture.
    • How did Navajo use their woven blankets?
  • Afterwards, select another student to read the 'Basic Aesthetic' section . Ask students to discuss the following:
    • Identify the general colors of the Navajo blankets.
    • Explain what materials were used to make the blankets.
    • What are the basic design elements?
  • Now choose another student to read the 'Major Patterns,' 'Crosses,' and 'Lightning' sections, then ask the following:
    • Explain the symbol of the cross in Navajo culture.
    • Zigzag designs are representative of what act of nature?
  • Next choose another student to read 'Yei' and 'The Spirit Line', then pose these discussion points:
    • Explain the correlation between Yei and the woven blankets.
    • Discuss the spirit line.
  • Now, ask students to read the 'Lesson Summary' independently.
  • Afterwards, distribute the hard copy lesson quiz to demonstrate learning. Students may work in pairs, individually or in groups.

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