Southwest Children's Literature

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The Unbreakable Code

Time: Approximately one hour.

Grade Level(s): 4th grade and up.

Objectives: Students will learn about the Navajo Code Talkers and their contribution in helping win WWII. They will also learn how to use the codes that were used in the war.

Teacher Materials: The book, The Unbreakable Code , a world map, a GI Joe doll (Navajo Code Talker version), code worksheet and words.

Student Materials: Drawing paper, paper, crayons, and pencils

Teaching Activity:

I. OVERVIEW (10 minutes)

A. Give a brief overview on WWII.

B. Show where the Navajo Reservation is located on the map.

C. Give basic facts about the Navajo culture, language, population, and more.

II. READ (15 minutes)

A. Arrange students in a semi-circle formation so they have a view of the book.

B. Read The Unbreakable Code.

III. DISCUSSION (5 minutes)

A. Answer any questions or thoughts students may have on the story.

B. Have students pass around the GI Joe doll.


A. Let students return to their desks.

B. Give papers and art supplies to students and have them draw their favorite part of the story.


A. Put students in groups or partners.

B. Distribute code worksheet and code words.

C. Recite Navajo words and their translations.

D. Explain activity rules. - Only one side of the table or student should possess a code word. - Do not show other students the code word. Example: The code word is "fun". Fox, Ute, Nut are the code Navajo words you need to put into translation from Navajo to English.

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