Code Talkers Recognition Act

Summary

Students will research and draw conclusions about specific time periods. Students will understand and sequence events and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of Code Talkers in American history.

Coin Type(s)

  • Medal

Coin Program(s)

  • Medals

Objectives

Students will research and draw conclusions about specific time periods. Students will understand and sequence events and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of Code Talkers in American history.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Technology
  • Art

Grades

  • 6th
  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Six
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes

    Groupings

    • Whole group
    • Small groups
    • Pairs
    • Individual work

    Background Knowledge

    Students should have a basic knowledge of:

    • World War I
    • World War II
    • Native American tribes
    • Internet research
    • Timelines
    • Concept maps

    Terms and Concepts

    • Medals
    • Obverse (front)
    • Reverse (back)
    • Code Talkers
    • Valor
    • Encryption
    • Secretary of the Treasury
    • Cipher

    Materials

    • 1 document camera or equivalent technology
    • 1 overhead projector (optional)
    • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
      • “Clues to the Code” page
      • “Meaning Behind the Medals” worksheet
      • “Signal Soldiers Rubric”
    • Copies of the following:
      • “This Time in History” worksheet
      • “Clues to the Code” page
      • “Meaning Behind the Medals” worksheet
      • “Signal Soldiers Rubric”
    • Copies of age-appropriate texts that give information about American History, World War I and World War II, such as:
      • DK Eyewitness Books: World War I  by Simon Adams
      • The Drama of American History: The United States in World War II 1941–1945 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier
      • Don’t Know Much About American History by Kenneth C. Davis
      • Armies of the Past Going into War in World War I by Adrian Gilbert
      • On the Front Line: In the Trenches in World War II by Adam Hibbert
    • Internet sites that give information about American History, World War I and World War II, such as:
    • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that gives information about Code Talkers, such a
      • The Code Talkers: American Indians in WWII by Robert Daily
      • Warriors in Uniform: The Legacy of American Indian Heroism by Herman J. Viola
    • 1 copy of an age-appropriate recording that gives information about Code Talker (optional)
    • Internet sites that give information about Code Talkers, such as:
    • Chart paper
    • Markers
    • Pencils
    • Computers or tablet devices with Internet access
    • Long sheets of paper
    • 1 large class map of the United States
    • Push pins (variety of colors)
    • Yarn (variety of colors)
    • Construction paper (variety of colors)
    • Scissors

    Preparations

    • Make an overhead transparency or equivalent of each of the following:
      • “Clues to the Code” page
      • “Signal Soldiers Rubric”
    • Make copies of each of the following:
      • “This Time in History” worksheet (1 per student)
      • “Clues to the Code” page ( 1 per student or group)
      • “Meaning Behind the Medals” worksheet (1 per group, pair or student)
      • “Signal Soldiers Rubric” (1 per student)
    • For Session 1, create a K-W-L chart.
    • For Session 1, create two concept maps on chart paper, titled “World War I” and “World War II."
    • Gather a variety of texts that give information about World War I and World War II (see examples under “Materials”).
    • Bookmark Internet sites that contain information about World War I and World War II (see examples under “Materials”).
    • Locate a portion of text that gives information on the importance of Native Americans as Code Talkers during World War I and World War II (see example under “Materials”).
    • Bookmark Internet sites that give information about Native Americans Code Talkers (see examples under “Materials”).
    • Prepare this coded message for students to decipher in Session 3: Wgibod wadlgkxw—Malk Vodekxw aj navh Saxdl Soxw.  (Answer, using Alpha wheel or code chart #3: Signal Soldiers—Code Talkers of both World Wars). For assistance, use the “Clues to the Code” page.
    • Arrange to use the computer lab for Sessions 4 and 5.
    • Discuss with your school’s multimedia specialist the projects your students will be creating so the students can have additional time and resources if possible.
    • For Session 5, prepare bulletin board space and put the map of the United States on the bulletin board.

    Worksheets

    Worksheets and files (PDF)

    Lesson Steps

    Sessions 1 and 2

    1. Present a brief overview of key events in American history since the 1860s (wars, major events and key people). For student reference, create a timeline of these major events from the Civil War to the present.
    2. Through a class discussion, a Venn diagram and a K-W-L chart, assess what students know about World War I and World War II.  Use the Venn diagram to compare and contrast the wars. Add notes to the “K” and “L” sections of the K-W-L chart.
    3. Explain to the students that they will be gathering information on American history, specifically World War I and World War II.  Divide the class into two groups. Assign some groups World War I and the others World War II.
    4. Subdivide the groups so each subdivision researches and focuses on one category, such as events leading up to the wars, effects, key events, people, a mode of communication (radio, hand signals, lights, etc.) and culture of the time (what was popular, what things cost, trends).
    5. Using the “This Time in History” worksheet, have the students use available classroom and Internet resources to learn more about World War I and World War II.
    6. Post concept maps with “World War I” and “World War II” as the titles. Have the students add specific information from their research to the concept maps.
    7. As a class, discuss the concept maps, specific events and communication tools of the two wars.
    8. Have the student groups review and discuss all of the information they gathered about the wars.
    9. Have the class complete the “L” column of the K-W-L chart. Have the students share what they learned, what they found most surprising and what questions they still have.
    10. Using information based on class discussions, research and graphic organizers, have the students write summary statements about World War I and World War II.

    Sessions 3 and 4

    1. Review the charts and information from the previous sessions.
    2. Discuss the kind of situations in which a coded or secret message would be used. Ask the students, based on their research of World Wars I and II, why there would be a need for coded messages during the wars.
    3. Discuss the meaning of the terms “cipher” and “encryption” with the students. If necessary, tell the students that cipher is a method of secret writing using substitution or transposition of letters according to a key and encryption means to put a message into coded form. Record the definitions on chart paper.
    4. Distribute copies of the “Clues to the Code” page to the students. Display the “Clues to the Code” transparency. Explain how this can be used to “break” a coded message.
    5. Display the coded message given under “Preparations” for the students to decipher. Allow students time to work with the resource to decipher the message.
    6. As a class, discuss the deciphered message and strategies the students used.
    7. Discuss the Code Talkers medal program with the students. Tell the students that the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 required the Secretary of the Treasury to strike Congressional Medals to recognize “the dedication and valor of NativeAmerican Code Talkers” to the Armed Services during World Wars I and II.  Code Talkers are Native Americans who used their tribal languages as the basis of secret codes for military communications. The gold medals go to each Native American tribe that had a member who served as a Code Talker. Duplicate silver medals will be presented to the specific Code Talkers, their next of kin or other personal representative, and duplicates in bronze are sold to the public. The names of the Code Talkers and their tribes are also added to a list to be submitted to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. There the list will be maintained along with any medals that tribes may decide to send to the institution. The program is also described at http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/medals/?action=codeTalkers.
    8. Tell the students that the United States Mint produces a variety of national medals to commemorate significant historic events or sites and to honor those whose superior deeds and achievements have enriched U.S. history or the world.  Some of these are bronze duplicates of Congressional Gold Medals authorized by Congress under separate public laws, while others are produced under the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to strike national medals. Information about additional medals can be found on the United States Mint’s Web site at www.usmint.gov/mint_ programs/medals.
    9. Introduce the students to the selected text about Code Talkers. Have the students predict how the Code Talkers would make an important contribution to the successful outcome of World War I and World War II.
    10. As a class, discuss the significance of coded messages and the importance of the role of Code Talkers during World Wars I and II.  Explain to the students that the military relied on Code Talkers to help protect messages from the enemy. Native American tribes had their own languages, and many were not written down.  Record key points and student responses on chart paper.
    11. Display the medal images from http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/medals/?action=codeTalkers . Explain to thestudents that the front of a medal, as with a coin, is called the “obverse” and the back is the “reverse.”
    12. Examine and discuss the details of the Code Talker medal obverse and reverse designs.  Note the similarities and differences among the images as well as the communication tools shown and the ways each of the tribes is represented on the medals.
    13. Using the information from the resource guide, discuss specific ways Native American tribes are represented by the medals’ images
    14. Explain to the students that they will learn more about the tribes represented on the medals. Each group will study a tribe and learn about its location, history, communication tool or language, involvement with the armed forces and significance, and the designs’ connection to the tribe. The students will share their findings with the rest of the class through a presentation.
    15. Assign all the medals to the students. Based on class size and range of abilities, have students work in small groups, pairs or individually on the research and the development of the final project.
    16. Distribute a “Meaning Behind the Medals” worksheet to each group, pair or individual researching a tribe. As a class, review the directions on the worksheet.
    17. Using available classroom and online resources, have the students research the tribes represented and the symbols depicted on the medals.  If necessary, take the students to the computer lab.

    Sessions 5 and 6

    1. If necessary, take the students to the computer lab.
    2. Display and review the “Signal Soldiers Rubric” and distribute a copy of the rubric to each student. Remind the students that they are each to complete a rubric regardless of their group size. Tell the students that all the components listed on their “Meaning Behind the Medals” worksheet need to be incorporated into the presentation.
    3. Allow time for the students to develop a multimedia project (digital presentation, video, performance, magazine, mural, poster, etc.) in the style of their choice based on their research and class discussions. Tell the students they should accentuate the people and the meaning behind the medals and use media that best represents their subject.
    4. Have students make their media presentations to the class.
    5. In order to show the connection between the location of the Native American tribes and the Code Talkers medals, have the students help you create a Code Talkers location map on a bulletin board. Begin by posting a United States map on a bulletin board. Have the students help to develop a catchy title.
    6. Tell the students that, before the end of the last session, they need to print and cut out the obverse and reverse images for their chosen tribe from http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/medals/?action=codeTalkers guide and place it on a small piece of construction paper with the tribe’s name, then post it on the bulletin board outside the United States map.
    7. As the students learn more about their chosen Code Talker medal, have them add information to the bulletin board by indicating the location of their tribe on the map with a colored push pin and using yarn to connect that location to their tribes’ medal image outside the map.
    8. Have the students give their presentations and complete their portion of the rubric and bulletin board.
    9. Have a “Signal Soldiers Presentation Night,” inviting parents, friends and community members to the classroom. Make it an event—have the students decorate the room, create programs and present their projects. Arrange with your multimedia specialist to have a classroom

    Differentiated Learning Options

    • Allow students to work individually
    • Allow students to work with a scribe.
    • Allow students extended time to complete their work.
    • Allow the use of a computer or tablet device.

    Enrichments/Extensions

    • Have students locate towns and cities where Code Talkers used their language to send secret messages.
    • Have students identify the specific tribal languages used in different battles.
    • Have students research and summarize the Public Law behind other medals and commemorative coins.
    • Invite guest speakers to the school to discuss the stories behind Code Talking.
    • Have students listen to recordings and read transcripts from Code Talkers.
    • Have students extend the lesson by creating their own codes and have classmates decipher them.
    • Have students research communication tools, their role in history and how they’ve changed over the years.
    • Have students modify the bulletin board idea used in the classroom and prepare another to showcase in a hallway display case.
    • Have students create replicas of the medals using an art medium of their choice.

    Assess

    • Use class activities, worksheets and the rubric to assess the students’ understanding of the lesson’s objectives.
    • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions and group activities.

    Common Core Standards

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: SL.6 Speaking and Listening
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • SL.6.4. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
    • SL.6.5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
    • SL.6.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: W.7 Writing
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    Standards:

    • W.7.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.
    • W.7.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
    • W.7.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”).
      • Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g. “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims”).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
    Standards:

    • RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • RI.6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
    • RI.6.3. Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: W.8 Writing
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    Standards:

    • W.8.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
    • W.8.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
    • W.8.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new”).
      • Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced”).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: SL.7 Speaking and Listening
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • SL.7.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
    • SL.7.5. Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.
    • SL.7.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 7 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: SL.8 Speaking and Listening
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • SL.8.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
    • SL.8.5. Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
    • SL.8.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.7 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
    Standards:

    • RI.7.1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • RI.7.2. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • RI.7.3. Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.8 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
    Standards:

    • RI.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • RI.8.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • RI.8.3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
    • RI.6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
    • RI.6.9. Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.7 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • RI.7.7. Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
    • RI.7.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
    • RI.7.9. Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: RL.8 Reading: Informational Text
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    Standards:

    • RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
    • RI.8.8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
    • RI.8.9. Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: W.6 Writing
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    Standards:

    • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
    • W.6.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
    • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
      • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: L.6 Language
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Knowledge of Language
    Standards:

    • L.6.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
      • Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.
      • Maintain consistency in style and tone.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: L.7 Language
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Knowledge of Language
    Standards:

    • L.7.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
      • Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: L.8 Language
    Grade(s): Grade 6
    Cluster: Knowledge of Language
    Standards:

    • L.8.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
      • Use verbs in the active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects (e.g., emphasizing the actor or the action; expressing uncertainty or describing a state contrary to fact).

    National Standards

    Discipline: Social Studies
    Domain: All Thematic Standards
    Cluster: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    Teachers should:

    • help learners understand the concepts of role, status, and social class and use them in describing the connections and interactions of individuals, groups, and institutions in society
    • help learners analyze groups and evaluate the influences of institutions, people, events, and cultures in both historical and contemporary settings
    • help learners to understand the various forms institutions take, their functions, their relationships to one another and how they develop and change over time
    • assist learners in identifying and analyzing examples of tensions between expressions of individuality and efforts of groups and institutions to promote social conformity
    • help learners to describe and examine belief systems basic to specific traditions and laws in contemporary and historical societies
    • challenge learners to evaluate the role of institutions in furthering both continuity and change
    • guide learner analysis of the extent to which groups and institutions meet individual needs and promote the common good in contemporary and historical settings
    • assist learners as they explain and apply ideas and modes of inquiry drawn from the behavioral sciences in the examination of persistent social issues and problems

    Discipline: Technology
    Domain: All Creativity and Innovation
    Cluster: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
    • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
    • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
    • Identify trends and forecast possibilities

    Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
    Domain: 5-8 Visual Arts
    Cluster: Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    • Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices
    • Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas

    Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
    Domain: 5-8 Visual Arts
    Cluster: Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    • Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks
    • Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: All Language Arts Standards
    Cluster: Applying Knowledge to Language
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

    Discipline: Language Arts
    Domain: All Language Arts Standards
    Cluster: Research
    Grade(s): Grades K–12
    Standards:

    • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.