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Age Range: Grade 3 through Grade 5 (Elementary)
Overview and Purpose: What's it like to speak in code? What's it like to have a "Top Secret" job? Students will learn about the Navajo code talkers and their contributions to World War II, while using the Navajo dictionary to decipher secret messages.
Objective: The student will be able to
*translate the Navajo code words into English.
*explain the contribution Navajo code talkers made during World War II.
Words from the Navajo code breaker dictionary
Write a simple phrase about getting a special treat (i.e. extra recess or something sweet) on the board in Navajo. Ask students what they think it says and what language it is written in.
Teach them about the Navajo code talkers who were recruited by the Marines during World War II. Pass out the worksheet and practice looking up words or letters. Have the students work in pairs to decipher the phrase on the board.
Have students make up their own sentence using the Navajo code and then have them ask a neighbor to translate the sentence.
Talk to the students about their experience. Was it like being a secret agent? How would they go about developing their own secret code? How would they use it in their daily lives?