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Navajo Rug Geometry

Lesson Summary

  • Observe geometric concepts from Navajo rugs.
  • Explore the process of Navajo rug weaving through creative movement.
  • Create movement sequences inspired by geometry found in Navajo rugs.

Lesson Plan and Procedure

Lesson Key Facts

  • Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Subject(s): Dance, Math, Social Studies, Native American, Tribe Approved
  • Duration of lesson: 30 minutes
  • Author(s): Rachel Marie Kimball

We invite teachers to explore geometric concepts with their students through connecting with the Navajo culture and the process of Navajo rug weaving. Access the slide presentation to begin your adventure. This slide presentation is not a one-time lesson. It can be used several times in unique ways.


Before beginning the lesson or unit, identify which geometric concept to focus on.
Use every slide or pick and choose what you would like to do with your students.

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Learning Objectives

  • Identify geometric shapes and their defining attributes, including angles and rules of symmetry.
  • Move in and out of formations in the shared space, using a variety of locomotor and axial motions.

Utah State Board of Education Standards

This lesson can be used to meet standards in many grades and subject areas. We will highlight one grade’s standards to give an example of application.

Grade 4 Dance

  • Standard 4.D.CR.2: Identify ideas for choreography generated from a variety of stimuli to solve given movement problems.
  • Standard 4.D.P.1: Establish spatial relationships with other dancers while safely using levels, directions, focus, and pathway designs in near-, mid-, and far range movement.
  • Standard 4.D.P.4: Demonstrate fundamental dance skills through locomotor and nonlocomotor sequences.
  • Standard 4.D.R.1: Use basic dance terminology to describe patterns of movement that create a style or theme.
  • Standard 4.D.CO.4: Select and describe movements in a specific genre or style, and explain how the movements relate to the culture, society, historical period, or community from which the dance originated.

Grade 4 Mathematics

  • Geometry (4.G.): Draw and identify lines and angles, as well as classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles (Standards 4.G.1–3)
  • Standard 4.G.1: Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, and obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.
  • Standard 4.G.2: Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
  • Standard 4.G.3: Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

Grade 4 Social Studies

  • Standard 2
    • Objective 1
      1. Explore points of view about life in Utah from a variety of cultural groups using primary source documents.
      2. Explore cultural influences from various groups found in Utah today (e.g. food, music, religion, dress, festivals).
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Diné Standards

This lesson can be used to meet many Diné standards. The following are examples of application.

4th-6th Diné Character Building Standards

  • Standard: K’ é hwiinidzin dóó ádáhozdílzin bee hadínísht’ée dooleełígíí bóhwiideesh’ááł.
    I will develop and apply critical thinking to establish relationships with the environment.
    • Concept 2- Ádáhozdílzin.
      I will maintain the sacredness of self-identity.
      • PO 1. Íínísts’ ą́ą’go binahjį’ bínashidi’neeztą́’ígíí choosh’į́į dooleeł.
        I will listen to and apply Diné teachings.

4th-6th Diné Culture Standards

  • Standard: K’é dóó nitsáhákees dóó nahat’á náásgóó iiná bee siih hasingo ádoolnííł.
    I will develop an understanding of Diné way of life.
    • Concept 1: Nitsáhá kees Shintsáhákees shił nilį́į go bee ádaa ákonisdzin dool eeł.
      I will acknowledge and value my thoughts and personality.
      • PO 1: Diné be’é’ooĺįįł bóhoosh’aahgo binahjį’ ádił nishdlį́į dooleeł.
        I will develop my cultural knowledge to build self worth.
      • PO 3: Nitł’iz ałtaas’éi baa ákonisin dóó baa hashne’ dooleeł.
        I will explain the significance of my cultural posessions.

4th-6th Diné History Standards

  • Standard: Diné bibee’é’ool’įįł dóó ádahóót’įįdígíí shił nilį́įgo ádídíínísht’i’ dooleeł.
    I will understand historical/factual events, people and symbols that influence my family.
    • Concept 3: Nihinaagóó bitsį’ yishtłizhii kéédahat’ínígíí dóó shidine’é bahane’ ahąąh naashnilgo baa hashne’ dooleeł.
      I will compare and contrast major historical events of Diné and neighboring tribes.
      • PO 2: Ałk’idą́ą́’ dóó dííshjį́įjį’ ádahóótįįdígíí ałhąąh naashnil dooleeł.
        I will compare Diné and a neighboring tribe’s historical timeline.
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Equipment and Materials Needed

Additional Resources

This lesson was created thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Utah Division of Arts & Museums.

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Image References

Image 1: Nizhoni Ranch Gallery, used with permission