"To 'iina 'ate: Water is Life," Navajo Farming During a Drought

byJennifer Tsosie

The Southwest is in a historical drought that is made more severe due to climate change. The drought continues to have negative impacts on the people, animals and vegetation in the region. This curriculum unit is designed for 6th grade elementary students on the Navajo Nation. Students will be collecting data and research to create solutions on how to farm and adapt in a changing climate. The unit will touch on science, mathematics, and include treatment of state and local foreign and language standards, while incorporating culturally responsive relevancy. Students will learn about their community’s water system, precipitation patterns on the Navajo Nation, the problem of soil erosion, and how they all affect agriculture and the growth of traditional foods. They will listen to cultural stories and the history of their people, to make connections as to why agriculture is an important part of the Peoples’ lives and for future generations. This unit satisfies the Navajo Nation standards and the Arizona World and Native Language, Science and Mathematics standards. This curriculum unit will help students to be able to take what they’ve learned and help educate and make an awareness of climate change.

(Developed for Diné Studies, grade 6; recommended for Diné Studies and Science, grade 6)

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